Who Is Mainly Affected By Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, second only to skin cancer. Its most likely to affect women over the age of 50.
Though rare, men can also develop breast cancer. Approximately 2,600 men develop male breast cancer every year in the United States, making up less than 1% of all cases.
Transgender women are more likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender men. Additionally, transgender men are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender women.
What age does breast cancer occur?
Breast cancer is most often diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age.
What race is most affected by breast cancer?
Overall, women who are non-Hispanic white have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race or ethnicity. Women who are non-Hispanic Black are almost as likely as non-Hispanic white women to develop the disease. Statistically, women who are Asian, Hispanic or Native American are the least likely to develop breast cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast 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.
Stages Of Breast Cancer
It is essential that the woman immediately consults a medical specialist if any changes in the breast occur. Only a specialist can assess the symptoms, examine the affected area and, if necessary, prescribe further tests.
Breast cancer develops gradually. Doctors distinguish the following stages of breast cancer:
- Stage zero â non-invasive breast cancer. It means that there are no cancer cells outside the tumor.
- The first stage is invasive breast cancer, in which cancer cells appear in the tissues adjacent to the tumor. At this stage, the lump can reach two centimeters in diameter, but it is still difficult to detect it on palpation.
- The second stage occurs when the tumor grows up to five centimeters in diameter, and cancer cells have invaded the lymph nodes surrounding the breast.
- Stage III breast cancer is divided into two subcategories: IIIA and IIIB. IIIA is an invasive kind of cancer with a tumor of more than five centimeters in diameter and a significant number of abnormal cells in the lymph nodes. Stage IIIB is a tumor of any size in the breast that has grown into the skin of the breast, internal lymph nodes, and the chest wall.
- Stage four is a tumor that has grown beyond the breast, armpit, and lymph nodes at the base of the neck, lungs, or liver.
You May Like: Susan B Komen Breast Cancer
Relationships With Friends And Family
It’s not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, don’t be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you need.
Read further information:
- Healthtalkonline: How breast cancer affects families
Urgent Advice: You Should See Your Gp If You Notice:
- a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Recommended Reading: Can Chest Binders Cause Breast Cancer
You Cant Stop Itching Your Nipples
Sometimes the girls just need a good scratch, especially if youre wearing a bra edged with lace or sequins. But if your nips are constantly itchy theres a good possibility something else is up and you need to get them checked, Dr. Patt says.
Many things can cause itchy nipples, including a yeast infection or other infection, allergies, and irritation from clothing. But there is a rare type of breast cancer that can cause a dry, red, itchy rash to appear on or around your nipples, similar to the type you get with eczema, she explains.
Regardless of the cause, an itchy rash is one symptom you should always have your doctor take a look at, particularly if it doesnt go away after a week or two.
You Notice Changes That Arent Related To Your Boobs At All
Back pain, neck pain, and unexplained weight loss were all listed as other breast cancer symptoms that led women to seek medical care and ultimately get diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology.
Thats because breast cancer can spread before its caught, causing symptoms in body parts that have nothing to do with your boobs. Its not possible to identify every possible sign of breast cancer so when it comes to early detection, you are your own best weapon, says Dr. Denduluri. Overall, any persistent, noticeable change should be checked by a doctor.
Read Also: Can You Survive Breast Cancer
What Are Other Breast Cancer Warning Signs
Lumps and bumps may be the first signs people think of when they think of breast cancer detection, but there are several more signs that people should be on the lookout for.
Kerger said that many changes can occur near the nipple and areola: Any change in that area, including color or inversion of the nipple, should be mentioned to your doctor.
Discharge from the breast, which can be clear fluid or contain blood, should also be mentioned.
Jones also said that dimpling, which usually looks like an indentation, is a warning sign. Another symptom can be breasts beginning to change shape – such as becoming lopsided or one becoming swollen.
Another less common symptom, Kerger said, is breast pain. While some breast pain is normal, especially when in tune with your menstrual cycle, breast pain in a specific area is less common.
“If you have breast pain you can point to with one finger or is … in one quadrant of your breasts … then that can be a little more concerning,” Kerger said.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, tell your primary care physician. If you are 40 years or older, you should be receiving regular mammograms, but if you are younger and having these symptoms, you can still get a mammogram. Some people with dense breasts may need an ultrasound, which can give a more thorough look at the breast and surrounding area. Song said that if you do have these tests done, there’s nothing wrong with asking your doctor for as much information as possible.
Other Cancer Warning Signs
Many different types of cancer can impact different parts of the body. That means there are a lot of possible signs and symptoms.
Other cancer signs to watch for:
- Fevers, night sweats or trouble regulating your temperature
- Throat pain, coughing, hoarseness or trouble swallowing
- Headaches and pain in the breast, armpit or groin
- Sudden double or blurry vision
Many of the early signs of cancer can be harmless. So how can you tell if you have cancer? Well, theres no way to know on your own. Youre going to need to speak with your health care provider.
One isolated symptom doesnt necessarily mean you have cancer, Dr. Stapel said. But if any symptoms persist past a couple weeks, thats when you should talk to your primary care provider.
Its also important to remember that some cancers early on have no visible signs which is why getting your cancer screenings is so important. Screenings can often reveal signs of cancer before any symptoms begin to show themselves.
You May Like: What Are Four Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
When In Doubt Get Checked Out
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if youre having pain at times other than the start of your menstrual cycle, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram. Theres no need to panic. Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, who will typically examine you and then refer you for a mammogram. Mammograms effectively detect 84% of breast cancers so when youre given a clean bill of health you can set your mind at ease. If your mammogram detects a suspicious mass, you may need to be evaluated further. If you do have breast cancer, you can expect a better outcome, because the earlier cancer treatment begins, the better patient outcomes usually are. If you live in Maryland, Washington, D.C. or the surrounding areas and want to be examined by a breast cancer specialist, contact us at .
What Can You Do To Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but there are ways you can achieve an overall healthy lifestyle in mind, body and spirit to decrease your breast cancer risk factors.
- Eat balanced meals with many fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water
- Support bone health through physical activity and appropriate intake of vitamin D and calcium
- Limit your alcohol use to no more than one glass a day
- Get enough rest
Recommended Reading: Refusing Hormone Therapy For Breast Cancer Premenopausal
Are There Complications Of Breast Cancer
Possible complications from breast cancer treatment include:
- Lymphoedema in some cases, removing your lymph nodes may cause swelling, discomfort and pain in the arm, shoulder and upper body.
- Early menopause certain treatments, especially chemotherapy and hormone therapy, can cause menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes, joint pain, or a change in sex drive, to occur earlier than usual.
- Anxiety and depression research shows that anxiety and depression are common among women with breast cancer. One study found that up to 50 per cent of women with early breast cancer may experience anxiety and/or depression in the year after diagnosis.
Grade Of Breast Cancer
The grade describes the appearance of the cancer cells.
- low grade the cells, although abnormal, appear to be growing slowly
- medium grade the cells look more abnormal than low-grade cells
- high grade the cells look even more abnormal and are more likely to grow quickly
Read further information:
Read further information about secondary breast cancer
Don’t Miss: Is Chemo Necessary For Breast Cancer
Breast Lumps Or Lumpiness
Many women complain that their breasts are lumpy. Breast tissue has a bumpy texture by nature, and some womens breasts have more lumpiness than others. This lumpiness is usually not a cause for concern. If the lumpiness is felt throughout the breast and is similar to your other breast, it is most likely normal breast tissue.
Lumps that feel extremely hard or dissimilar from the rest of the breast should be evaluated. This type of lump could indicate a tumor. The tumor is rarely noticeable to see from the naked eye or touch in the early stage, which is why mammograms play a critical role. A mammogram breast cancer screening may help identify a tumor or the breast lump long before it is big enough to start causing problems.
Furthermore, dont assume a new lump is cancerous if youve previously lumped it. After all, this new lump could be something other than breast cancer, but its better to be safe than sorry.
Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
| Español |
In an effort to stay safe from coronavirus, many of us have put off the annual screenings and check-ups where cancers are often caught. That’s understandable. Still, early detection is one of the best weapons against the disease.
Screenings can detect a cancer before symptoms appear. You too can pick up on early warning signs by paying close attention to changes in your body. If you notice something new or different that lasts several weeks and several weeks is key reach out to your health care provider. Not every symptom that could be cancer is cancer. But here are 17 symptoms that may warrant a call to your doctor:
Also Check: What Is The Percentage Of Getting Breast Cancer
Swollen Lymph Nodes: What Do They Mean
Swollen lymph nodes, or swollen glands, are a symptom of many illnessesfrom the common cold to some forms of cancerand a sign that something is wrong in the body. The swelling or enlargement, called lymphadenopathy, occurs in the lymph nodes when theyre filtering cells affected by a condition, such as an infection, injury or cancer. The most common reason lymph nodes swell is because of an infection, particularly viral infections such as a cold. Its much rarer for swollen lymph nodes to be a symptom of a more serious condition such as cancer.
The lymph nodes are likely to swell in one specific region depending on the illness. This will usually occur in the neck, armpits or groin. Less common is when lymph nodes swell in several regions at the same time. That condition may be brought on by infections such as strep throat or mononucleosis, a reaction to certain medicines, an immune system disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, and forms of cancer such as lymphoma and leukemia.
When lymph node swelling persists and is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or night sweats, or when theres no obvious infection, it may be time to seek medical advice or evaluation from a doctor.
Contacting Webmd About Your Personal Information Or Privacy
You can also contact WebMDs Privacy Office at:
Read Also: Triple Negative Breast Cancer Immunotherapy
Signs & Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Young adults CAN and DO get breast cancer. When it comes to breast cancer symptoms and signs of the disease, you are looking for more than just a lump. Breast cancer statistics show that nearly 80% of young adults find their abnormality themselves. So it’s important to get familiar with your breasts and aware of the signs and symptoms. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your breasts.
Symptoms to Look Out for Include:
- A lump or unusual thickening in the breast or underarm area
- A change in color or rash on the skin of the breast
- Unusual nipple discharge
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- A change in size or shape of the breast
- Itchy, sore or scaling of the nipple
- Dimpling on breast skin or nipple turning inward
- Breast or nipple pain that does not go away
Consult your physician if you experience any of the above symptoms of breast cancer. If your concern is not taken seriously, you may have to insist on discussing whether further testing is appropriate in order to rule out a breast cancer diagnosis.
What Are Benign Breast Conditions
Any changes in breast tissue may cause concern. However, many noncancerous or benign conditions mimic breast cancer symptoms.
The breast is a complex organ filled with glands, fat, and connective tissue. When you perform a self-exam, your mammary glands may feel like tiny lumps in your breast. Throughout your menstrual cycle, your breast tissue changes while your hormones rise and fall. This can cause swelling and tenderness before your period begins.
Some other common noncancerous breast conditions include:
- Fibrocystic breast changes: Fibrosis is scar tissue that can feel firm and rubbery.
- Cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that enlarge and feel tender right before the menstrual cycle. Cysts are very common and may feel like a smooth lump in the breast.
- Fibroadenomas: These small lumps are the most common lump in younger females.
- Mastitis: This is a common infection for people who are nursing. It can cause redness or discoloration, swelling, warmth, and tenderness. The infection sometimes causes a fever.
- Fat necrosis: When fatty areas of the breast tissue are damaged, a lump forms.
- Calcification: Sometimes, small spots of calcium collect in the breast tissue. A person cannot usually feel the calcification, and it typically does not cause pain.
- Nipple discharge: Various conditions other than breast cancer can cause nipple discharge. These include infection and duct ectasia.
Also Check: How Does Chemotherapy Work For Breast Cancer
You’ve Got Painful Swelling
Swollen and painful breasts are, well, a pain, and while they’re mainly due to hormonal changes , they can be linked to breast cancer.
It’s all about the size and placement of the tumor, says Dr. Patt, which can be responsible for a change in the size or shape of your breast, or cause of painful swelling. While the vast majority of women who report breast pain do not have cancer, if breast pain and swelling aren’t linked to your menstrual cycle, you’re not breastfeeding, and it appears suddenly or doesn’t go away, give your doctor a call because whatever is happening needs to be addressed, adds Dr. Patt.