‘i Had Fevers And Difficulty Breastfeeding’
I was misdiagnosed with mastitis twice because I had high fevers and trouble breastfeeding. It turned out to be cancer. Tumors were blocking the milk ducts. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at age 32, five weeks after I had my first child. It didnt look like mastitis at all. So many people told me ‘100% chance’ it is nothing. No one thought of any alternative, however, until multiple courses of treatment failed.
Melissa Thompson, healthcare policy advocate, Stamford, Connecticut
Lumps Or Changes In Your Breasts
You should be offered an appointment to see a cancer specialist within 2 weeks if you are:
50 or over and have changes to one of your nipples that worry you, such as discharge from the nipple or the nipple appearing to be pulled inwards
30 or over and have a lump in your breast that isn’t caused by anything else.
You may also be offered an appointment to see a specialist within 2 weeks if you have changes to the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling.
If you are under 30 and have a lump in your breast that isn’t caused by anything else, you might be offered an appointment to see a specialist, although not necessarily within 2 weeks. Your GP may get advice from a specialist about whether to refer you.
Breast Cancer Types And Symptoms
There are several kinds of breast cancer. Many of them share symptoms.
Symptoms of ductal carcinoma
This is the most common type of breast cancer. It begins in your ducts. About 1 in 5 new breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ . This means you have cancer in the cells that line your ducts, but it hasnât spread into nearby tissue.
You may not notice any symptoms of ductal carcinoma. It can also cause a breast lump or bloody discharge.
Symptoms of lobular carcinoma
This kind begins in the glands that make milk, called lobules. Itâs the second most common type of breast cancer. Symptoms include:
- Fullness, thickening, or swelling in one area
- Nipples that are flat or point inward
Symptoms of invasive breast cancer
Breast cancer thatâs spread from where it began into the tissues around it is called invasive or infiltrating. You may notice:
- A lump in your breast or armpit. You might not be able to move it separately from your skin or move it at all.
- One breast that looks different from the other
- A rash or skin thatâs thick, red, or dimpled like an orange
- Skin sores
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Muscle weakness
Symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer
Breast cancer is called triple-negative if it doesnât have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and doesnât make a lot of a protein called HER2. This kind tends to grow and spread faster than other types, and doctors treat it differently.
Symptoms of male breast cancer
- A small, hard cyst
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What Causes Breast Cancer Vs Cysts
Many women who develop breast cancer have no risk factors other than age and gender.
- Gender is the biggest risk because breast cancer occurs mostly in women.
- Age is another critical factor. Breast cancer may occur at any age, though the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average woman at 30 years of age has one chance in 280 of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. This chance increases to one in 70 for a woman 40 years of age, and to one in 40 at 50 years of age. A 60-year-old woman has a one in 30 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women in the U.S.
- A woman with a personal history of cancer in one breast has a three- to fourfold greater risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This refers to the risk for developing a new tumor and not a recurrence of the first cancer.
Genetic Causes of Breast Cancer
There is great interest in genes linked to breast cancer. About 5%-10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, as a result of mutations, or changes, in certain genes that are passed along in families.
Hormonal Causes of Breast Cancer
Hormonal influences play a role in the development of breast cancer.
Lifestyle and Dietary Causes of Breast Cancer
Benign Breast Disease
Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer
Some causes of breast pain are:
Unconventional Signs Of Breast Cancer That You Must Know About
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.
The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.
Its important to have a firm grasp of bodily knowledge, as the earliest stages of breast cancer usually come without pain. The most common indicator is the discovery of a lump, but cancer goes through multiple progressive stages before these lumps form. It may sometimes take years for lumps to develop, so people shouldnt rely solely on lumps to indicate breast cancer, as they usually indicate an already progressive disease.
There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs arent definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. Some of the more obvious signs are:
- Change in breast structure
- Changes in the skin or nipple
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‘my Breast Looked A Little Pink’
In the shower one day, I noticed a pale pinkness on my breast just below my nipple area, which looked more like a mild sunburn than a rash. I knew something was off. I had my ob-gyn take a look, and he said he wasnt concerned at all because it was barely noticeable. He suggested my bra fit too snugly, and I needed to go shopping for new bras. So I did just that.
“Over time, that pink area hardened slightly and was sore to the touch. My ob-gyn again said he wasnt concerned. Eventually the pain increased behind my breast in my back. My ob-gyn said that breast cancer does not hurt, so I didnt need to worry about it. He ordered a mammogram to put my mind at ease. The mammogram and all other tests came back normal.
“Weeks went by and my lower back began to hurt. Eventually, after my GP suggested I had arthritis and I went to physical therapy. I went to see a breast specialist. He told me I had mastitis and gave me antibiotics. That didnt help. Back at the breast surgeon, he sent a picture of my breast to the top surgeon who ordered a diagnostic mammogram, which includes a sonogram and a biopsy. I was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer in my breast, bones, and liver.
Jennifer Cordts, stay-at-home mom, Dallas
Stage Of Breast Cancer
When your breast cancer is diagnosed, the doctors will give it a stage. The stage describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread and helps to predict the outlook.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is sometimes described as stage 0. Other stages of breast cancer describe invasive breast cancer:
- stage is â the tumour is “in situ” and there’s no evidence of invasion
- stage 1 â the tumour measures less than 2cm and the lymph nodes in the armpit aren’t affected there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
- stage 2 â the tumour measures 2-5cm, the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected, or both there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
- stage 3 â the tumour measures 2-5cm and may be attached to structures in the breast, such as skin or surrounding tissues, and the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
- stage 4 â the tumour is of any size and the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
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Why Does My Back Hurt When I Have Breast Cancer
When cancer spreads, it can get into the bones and weaken them. Pain in the back could be a sign that a spinal bone has fractured or that the tumor is pressing on the spinal cord. Its important to remember that back pain is a very common condition. Its much more commonly caused by conditions such as: muscle strains.
Early Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A lump in your breast or underarm that doesnât go away. This is often the first symptom of breast cancer. Your doctor can usually see a lump on a mammogram long before you can see or feel it.
- Swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone. This could mean breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes in that area. Swelling may start before you feel a lump, so let your doctor know if you notice it.
- Pain and tenderness, although lumps donât usually hurt. Some may cause a prickly feeling.
- A flat or indented area on your breast. This could happen because of a tumor that you canât see or feel.
- Breast changes such as a difference in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of your breast.
- Changes in your nipple, like one that:
- Pulls inward
- Develops sores
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Breast Or Nipple Pain
Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that lead to feelings of pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast. Although breast cancer is often painless, it is important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that could be due to breast cancer.
Some people may describe the pain as a burning sensation.
Treatments To Reduce Your Risk
If you have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer, for example, a BRCA gene carrier, treatment might be available to reduce your risk. This applies to a very small minority of women.
Your level of risk is determined by factors such as your age, your family’s medical history, and the results of genetic tests.
You will usually be referred to a specialist genetics service if it’s thought you have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. Healthcare professionals working at these services might discuss treatment options with you.
The 2 main treatments are surgery to remove the breasts or medication. These are described in more detail below.
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Can Lymphoma Of The Skin Be Found Early
This type of lymphoma first appears in the skin, so it is usually found earlier in the course of the disease than many other types of cancer. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard even for experienced doctors to diagnose skin lymphomas right away because they often look like other, more common skin problems such as infections or eczema.
Pain And Tenderness In The Armpit
According to studies, the first place breast cancer spreads to is the axillary lymph nodes .
The axillary lymph nodes indicate breast cancer in the same way the lymph nodes in the neck and throat indicate a flu, making the axillaries an essential place for onset discovery.
The journal of Clinical Oncology reported about the significance of axillary lymph node metastasis in primary breast cancer saying that axillary lymph node status is the single most important prognostic variable in the management of patients with primary breast cancer.7
The American Cancer Society says that sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.1 Therefore any pain or discomfort in the left or right armpit is something that should definitely be tested and you should also be aware of the other causes of armpit pain.
The first thing to do is to compare the painful armpit to the other armpit. If the difference is persistently evident, its worth consulting an expert.
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What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
Diet And Lifestyle Changes
Your GP may suggest some things you can try which might help reduce pain, but theres limited evidence to show these work. These include:
- eating a low-fat diet
- increasing the amount of fibre you eat
- reducing caffeine and alcohol
Wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra during the day, during any physical activity and at night can be helpful.
Relaxation and complementary therapies
Some women have found relaxation therapy useful in reducing their symptoms of cyclical breast pain, such as relaxation CDs or apps, or other complementary therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy.
If your pain started when you began taking a contraceptive pill, changing to a different pill may help. If the pain continues, you may want to try a non-hormone method of contraception such as condoms, a non-hormonal coil or a cap .
If your pain started or increased while taking HRT and doesnt settle after a short time, tell your GP.
Evening primrose or starflower oil
Theres evidence that having low levels of an essential fatty acid called GLA can contribute to cyclical breast pain. However, research has shown that taking additional GLA doesnt always help the pain. Despite this, your GP may suggest that you try evening primrose or starflower oil , as some women have found it helps them to feel better generally. Your GP will tell you how much to take and for how long.
Small Lump Under Armpit
An armpit lump, or axillary lump, is often caused by swollen lymph nodes in the armpit. This condition can also be associated with tenderness or pain in the lump under the arm. A small or pea-sized lump in the armpit can also be caused by a skin infection, like a cyst, or ingrown hair. Read below for more causes and treatments options.
Breast Pain Linked To Periods
Many women feel discomfort and lumpiness in both breasts a week or so before their period.
The pain can vary from mild to severe and the breasts can also be tender and sore to touch.
You may experience heaviness, tenderness, a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or a feeling of tightness.
The pain usually affects both breasts but it can affect just one breast. It can also spread to the armpit, down the arm and to the shoulder blade.
Cyclical breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. The pain often goes away once a period starts. In some women, this type of pain will go away by itself, but it can come back.
This type of pain usually stops after the menopause, though women taking hormone replacement therapy can also have breast pain.
Breast pain can also be associated with starting to take or changing contraception that contains hormones.
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Other Causes Of Pain And Tenderness
We often associate pain with something wrong, so when people feel tenderness or pain in their breast, they often think of breast cancer. But breast pain is rarely the first noticeable symptom of breast cancer. Several other factors can cause the pain.
Clinically known as mastalgia, breast pain can also be caused by the following:
- the fluctuation of hormones caused by menstruation
Are Lumpy Breasts A Risk For Breast Cancer
Lumpy breasts dont seem to raise a womans risk of breast cancer, though they can make it hard to find a cancer that has developed. And while four out of five breast lumps turn out not to be cancerous, its always good to err on the side of caution and check with a doctor about any breast lump you notice.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast pain can be a symptom of cancer. If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are
- New lump in the breast or underarm .
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.