How Would You Know If You Have Breast Cancer
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Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast
A cancer might cause your breast to look bigger or have a different shape than usual, it might feel different.
Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender just before their period.
It can help to be breast aware. This means getting to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts.
How To Break The News
When and how you tell your loved ones is up to you. Many people choose to tell their partner or spouse first, followed by close family members and friends.
You might start off with, âThis is going to be difficult, but I need to tell you something.â Or, if they know youâve had tests, you could say that your doctor has found out whatâs wrong.
If you donât want to give the news in person, you can tell others over the phone, video chat, email, text, or social media. âThink about what youâre going to say in advance and how youâll respond to the reactions and questions they may have,â Brown says.
Try not to pressure yourself to put on a happy or 100% confident face. Itâs OK to be honest about how you feel.
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How Do Tamoxifen Raloxifene Anastrozole And Exemestane Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
If you are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, four medications tamoxifen , raloxifene , anastrozole , and exemestane may help reduce your risk of developing this disease. These medications act only to reduce the risk of a specific type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for about two-thirds of all breast cancers.
Tamoxifen and raloxifene are in a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators . These drugs work by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue by attaching to estrogen receptors in breast cells. Because SERMs bind to receptors, estrogen is blocked from binding. Estrogen is the fuel that makes most breast cancer cells grow. Blocking estrogen prevents estrogen from triggering the development of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Anastrozole and exemestane are in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors . These drugs work by blocking the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors do this by blocking the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which is needed to make estrogen.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Sex: Just being a woman increases the chances of suffering from breast cancer since, as we said at the beginning of this article, the increased hormonal load of women has a negative impact.
Age: advanced age increases the chances of suffering from this disease. Breast cancer usually appears from the age of 45, although there are cases of younger women.
Genetic factors. Hereditary genetic alterations or defects could be the cause of this disease.
Other factors such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition can increase the risk of suffering from breast cancer.
The use of contraceptive pills and the consumption of alcohol increase the risk based on the quantities taken.
It should be emphasized that both symptoms and risk factors for breast cancer can be relative. It is possible that a person is diagnosed with this disease even though he has not presented any previous symptoms or, conversely, that a person with obvious risk factors is in excellent health.
In addition to knowing how to recognize the first symptoms of breast cancer and knowing the risk factors, you must consult a professional in case of an anomaly. In this way, you can receive the right diagnosis and intervene. Early diagnosis can save lives!
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program At Ctca
Thats why we developed the CTCA Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program, where our team of breast cancer experts work quickly to properly diagnose and stage each patient’s disease so she can make more informed decisions about her treatment options. Our breast cancer experts collaborate daily, allowing them to reach a diagnosis more efficiently and provide an individualized care plan designed to allow you to start treatment as soon as possible. The team also offers opportunities to enroll qualified patients in carefully selected clinical trials in areas such as immunotherapy and genomically targeted chemotherapy.
If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of IBC and want to schedule an appointment for diagnostic testing, or chat online with a member of our team.
Usually At Least 3 Core Samples Are Removed From The Breast Tissue
To perform a biopsy, the radiologist holds the ultrasound probe in left hand, and the biopsy needle/gun in the right hand, and Visa Versa. Then the radiologist watches the needle under the skin, as it approaches the target, watching with ultrasound. When the needle is pointing to the target, the radiologist pushes a button on the end of the gun, and a spring makes the needle snap forward, passing it through the target breast tissue, and snipping a small tissue sample into the needle.
The needle is then withdrawn out of the breast, and the tissue is retrieved out of the needle, placed in a bottle, and sent to the lab. The radiologist gives specific information about the location of the tissue sample to the pathologist. Usually at least 3 core samples are taken, and quite often more than that.
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Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, and theyre broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive, or in situ.
While invasive cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast, noninvasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue.
These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a noninvasive condition. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in your breast and havent invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ. Lobular carcinoma in situ is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells havent invaded the surrounding tissue.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in your breasts milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once the breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside your milk ducts, it can begin to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma. Invasive lobular carcinoma first develops in your breasts lobules and has invaded nearby tissue.
Other, less common types of breast cancer include:
The type of cancer you have determines your treatment options, as well as your likely long-term outcome.
1 and 5 percent of all breast cancer cases.
Radiological Detection Of Early Stage Breast Cancer And Dcis
Not all breast cancers are discovered as a palpable mass or lump. Early stage and in-situ breast cancers might only be suspected on the mammogram due to an ill-defined area of unexpected density, or, by the presence of microcalcifications. Ductal Carcinoma in situ is quite often discovered by the radiologist due to certain patterns of microcalcifications on the mammogram. About 75% of breast cancer can be found mammographically up to a year before they become clinically palpable.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Like many conditions, risk factors for breast cancer fall into the categories of things you can control and things that you cannot control. Risk factors affect your chances of getting a disease, but having a risk factor does not mean that you are guaranteed to get a certain disease.
Controllable risk factors for breast cancer
- Alcohol consumption. The risk of breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. For instance, women who consume two or three alcoholic beverages daily have an approximately 20% higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.
- Body weight. Being obese is a risk factor for breast cancer. It is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Breast implants. Having silicone breast implants and resulting scar tissue make it harder to distinguish problems on regular mammograms. It is best to have a few more images to improve the examination. There is also a rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma that is associated with the implants.
- Choosing not to breastfeed. Not breastfeeding can raise the risk.
- Using hormone-based prescriptions. This includes using hormone replacement therapy during menopause for more than five years and taking certain types of birth control pills.
Non-controllable risk factors for breast cancer
Questions Your Children May Ask About Your Breast Cancer
Below weve listed some of the common questions children ask when they learn that someone close to them has cancer. How you respond is a personal decision , but weve made some suggestions based on whats helped others in the past.
Is it my fault?
Children often think disruption in the family is a result of their behaviour, and might blame themselves. Try to reassure them that its nothing theyve done and they arent being punished.
What you could say: Its not your fault, or anyone elses. Nothing you have done or said has caused it.
Can I catch it?
Young children may think cancer is contagious and that it can be caught by touching, hugging or sharing space.
What you could say: Some illnesses like colds and chicken pox can pass from one person to another but cancer is different you cant catch it.
Are you going to die?
From the age of about seven most children begin to realise that death is the end of a persons life and that it is irreversible. They start to understand that all people, including themselves, will eventually die.
What you could say: My type of cancer usually gets better with treatment. Some people with cancer do die but we are not expecting that to happen to me. The doctors have told me they have very good treatments for me.
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Breast Cancer: Symptoms And Signs
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.
The majority of women with breast cancer do not have any body changes or symptoms when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer.
The following signs and symptoms should be discussed with a doctor. Many times, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.
A lump that feels like a hard knot or a thickening in the breast or under the arm. It is important to feel the same area in the other breast to make sure the change is not a part of healthy breast tissue in that area.
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Nipple discharge that occurs suddenly, is bloody, or occurs in only 1 breast
Physical changes, such as a nipple turned inward or a sore located in the nipple area
Skin irritation or changes, such as puckering, dimpling, scaliness, or new creases
A warm, red, swollen breast with or without a rash with dimpling resembling the skin of an orange, called peau d’orange
Pain in the breast, particularly breast pain that does not go away. Pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer, but it should be reported to a doctor.
‘i Felt A Pea On My Ribs’
I had done monthly self-breast exams since I was in my early 20s. I felt a tiny hard little bump the size of a small pea. I could only feel it because it was over my rib at the bottom of my left breast. In retrospect, my bra may have hurt a little in that area before I found the lump. I have had many lumps, bumps, and cysts biopsied, but this pea was definitely different. I scheduled my annual mammogram along with a biopsy. I received the breast cancer diagnosis within a week, just shy of my 55th birthday. Turns out, there was another in the other breast that didnt show up on a mammogram. I also discovered I was a BRCA 1 mutation carrier. I needed aggressive chemo followed by a double mastectomy. Had I not done the exam that evening, everything would be quite different.
Cynthia Bailey, MD, president and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology, Inc., Sebastopol, California
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‘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
Breast Cancer And Shoulder Blade Pain
Some women may feel back pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades before any other sign of breast cancer reveals itself. The discomfort is usually attributed to muscle pain, inflammation of the spine or stretching the tendon and ligaments in the back.
Its important to know that tumors will sometimes develop deep within the breast tissue of the chest and felt in the spine or ribcage. There is also the possibility of metasis, a malignant spreading of the disease to the ribs or spine.
For example, The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports about a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and suffered from a severe back pain.5
The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reported that metastatic bone disease secondary to breast cancer is a common cause of low back pain. The report stressed the need for further imaging in patients with a history of breast cancer and whose physical examination and plain film radiographs are inconclusive or suspicious.6
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Prepare Yourself Before Talking To Your Boss
Before sharing this news with your employer, consider what facts they will need to know and how much detail you are willing to share.
You may know your general diagnosis, have a treatment schedule planned and know how side effects may affect your time at work. Write those down and if you may need to ask for reasonable accommodations, note those as well.
If you dont have many details yet, just gather up what you do know and prepare to be honest.
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Your Armpit Lymph Nodes Are Swollen
Most people are always looking for bumps in their breasts, but don’t forget to check your lymph nodes for swelling, too. “Many patients who end up diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes have no symptoms in the breast, no changes in the structure of the breast, but they come in for a consult because they feel something under their arm,” says Alvarez. “This may mean that cancer from the breast has traveled to the lymph nodes, and now there is lymph node invasion.”
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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.
Testing For Proteins And Genes
The breast cancer cells will be tested for certain proteins called estrogen and progesterone receptors. If the cancer has these proteins, it’s called a hormone receptor positive breast cancer. The cells are also tested to see if the cancer makes too much of the HER2 protein. If it does, it’s called a HER2-positive cancer. These cancers are sometimes easier to treat. If the cancer doesn’t test positive for any of these proteins, it’s called a triple-negative breast cancer.
The cells might also be tested for certain genes, which can help decide if chemo might be helpful and how likely it is that the cancer will come back. Ask your doctor to explain the tests they plan to do, and what the results might mean.
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