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How Can You Tell If You Have Breast Cancer

Myth: Wearing A Bra Can Cause Breast Cancerfact: There Is No Evidence That Bras Cause Breast Cancer

How to tell your kids you have breast cancer

From time to time, media coverage and the internet have fueled myths that wearing a bra can increase breast cancer risk.

The theory was that wearing a bra especially an underwire style could restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breast, causing toxic substances to build up in the tissue.

However, there is no evidence to support this claim. A 2014 study of roughly 1,500 women with breast cancer found no link between bra-wearing and breast cancer.

What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Being a woman and getting older are the main risk factors for breast cancer.

Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.

Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.

How Can I Protect Myself From Breast Cancer

Follow these three steps for early detection:

  • Get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40. Mammograms are an important part of your health history. Recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force came out with new recommendations regarding when and how often one should have mammograms. These include starting at age 50 and having them every two years. We do not agree with this, but we are in agreement with the American Cancer Society and have not changed our guidelines, which recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
  • Examine your breasts each month after age 20. You will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
  • Have your breast examined by a healthcare provider at least once every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. Clinical breast exams can detect lumps that may not be detected by mammogram.

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Your Areolas Have Gotten Thicker

You probably have a pretty good idea of how your areolas usually look and feel at this pointthey’ve been on your body for quite some time, after allso if you notice any thickening, it’s something to check out. This can also take place in the breast skin as well, says the American Cancer Society.

How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer

How to Know if You Have Breast Cancer

Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.

In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.

The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.

References

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Delegate Spreading The News

The thought of breaking the news to extended family and friends can feel overwhelming and emotional. If you choose to break the news to your close family, consider appointing one or two family members to spread the news to others.

To make this process easier, consider starting a CaringBridge site. While constant questions about a health journey show that family and friends care, answering them and sharing health news over and over is exhausting. Take this task off of your plate with CaringBridge, an easy-to-use and free online Journal for sharing health messages with loved onesall in one place.

Cancer Signs And Symptoms During The Coronavirus Pandemic

This page covers some of the key signs and symptoms of cancer, including those which can be early signs. Not every person with cancer has symptoms. But spotting cancer early saves lives, so tell your doctor if you notice anything that isnt normal for you.

Keep reading below for more detailed information on the key cancer signs and symptoms. We have separate information on specific cancer types and their possible symptoms.

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How Do We Attend School Or Work Safely

Around the world, there is variation in whether or not schools and offices are open for in-person attendance. In the United States, local and state officials have worked with school systems to plan school openings. Some schools are offering only in-person education, a small number of schools are completely virtual, and others still are offering some blend of the two.

If you or your children are returning to school in person, and especially if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, wearing a face covering or mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times is important to lower the risk of spread. If physical distancing is possible, please do so. Use hand sanitizer frequently and wash hands whenever possible. Stay home or keep children at home if they are sick or have a fever.

When returning to in-person work, the same rules apply. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the safest approach. If you are not vaccinated, avoid large gatherings of people, physical distance as much as possible, and wear a mask at all times. Regularly clean desks and other frequently touched surfaces. If there has been a known exposure to COVID-19 in the space, then cleaning with disinfectant wipes is important. Do not go to work when you are sick or if you have a fever.

Finally, be sure to get a flu shot during flu season. This can help protect you and those around you.

When Do Signs And Symptoms First Appear

A Breast Cancer Diagnosis: What you need to know

Typically, cancer signs and symptoms first appear when the cancerous tumor or mass has grown large enough that it begins to push against nearby organs and tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.

This can lead to pain, a change in how the nearby organs function, or both. A brain tumor pressing against the optic nerve will affect vision, for example.

Some cancers are fast moving, such as liver and pancreatic cancers. Prostate cancer, however, is usually slow moving. This is why many older men with prostate cancer forego treatment theyre more likely to die with prostate cancer than because of it.

Screenings for certain cancers should be part of your normal preventive healthcare. These include cancers of the:

  • prostate
  • cervix
  • skin

Your age, sex, family history, and your own medical history will dictate when routine screenings should begin and how often they should be done.

If youre concerned about symptoms associated with various cancers, then you shouldnt hesitate to see your doctor. You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.

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How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed

If IBC is suspected because of skin inflammation, nipple changes, or other IBC symptoms, breast imaging like mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI will be necessary. If an abnormality is identified with breast imaging, then a needle biopsy will be performed. In a needle biopsy, a thin, hollow needle is used to extract a sample that can be examined under a microscope. If an abnormality is not identified with breast imaging, then a punch biopsy of the skin can be performed. During a punch biopsy, a special tool that looks kind of like a miniature cookie cutter is used to take a sample of all the layers of skin. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area before the procedure so you wont feel pain during the biopsy.

Because IBC can be difficult to diagnose and because it is typically a more aggressive form of breast cancer, the cancer may have spread outside of the breast by the time it is found. Staging studies can be performed to look for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer: How To Spot It And What To Do About It

Many things can cause skin changes on the breasts, and its normally no big deal. Rarely, it could signal a more serious condition called inflammatory breast cancer . Keep reading to learn about common causes of breast skin changes diagnosis and treatment for IBC what to watch out for and how to protect your health.

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Your Breast Is Changing Colors

Another symptom of inflammatory breast cancer is when your breast skin turns pink or reddish on more than half the breastsomething that can be hard to tell in those with darker skin tones. “Sometimes these changes in coloration can be difficult to find in African Americans and in obese patients with very large breasts,” Ricardo H. Alvarez, MD, leads the Breast Cancer Center Institute at Cancer Treatment Centers of America , said on the CTCA website. And for harmful habits you should be aware of, check out 30 Things You Had No Idea Could Cause Cancer.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

How Do You Know If You Have Breast Cancer Gene

Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor.

You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
  • 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.

Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer.

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Breast Examination After Treatment For Breast Cancer

After surgery

The incision line may be thick, raised, red and possibly tender for several months after surgery. Remember to examine the entire incision line.

If there is redness in areas away from the scar, contact your physician. It is not unusual to experience brief discomforts and sensations in the breast or nipple area .

At first, you may not know how to interpret what you feel, but soon you will become familiar with what is now normal for you.

After breast reconstruction

Following breast reconstruction, breast examination for the reconstructed breast is done exactly the same way as for the natural breast. If an implant was used for the reconstruction, press firmly inward at the edges of the implant to feel the ribs beneath. If your own tissue was used for the reconstruction, understand that you may feel some numbness and tightness in your breast. In time, some feeling in your breasts may return.

After radiation therapy

After radiation therapy, you may notice some changes in the breast tissue. The breast may look red or sunburned and may become irritated or inflamed. Once therapy is stopped, the redness will disappear and the breast will become less inflamed or irritated. At times, the skin can become more inflamed for a few days after treatment and then gradually improve after a few weeks. The pores in the skin over the breast also may become larger than usual.

What to do

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.

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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

Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

How Do I Tell My Children I Have Breast Cancer?

There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having any of these doesnt mean you will definitely develop the disease.

Some risk factors cant be avoided, such as family history. You can change other risk factors, such as quitting smoking, if you smoke. Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Age. Your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you age. Most invasive breast cancers are found in women over age 55 years.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol use disorder raises your risk.
  • Having dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue makes mammograms hard to read. It also increases your risk for breast cancer.
  • Gender. White women are

While there are risk factors you cant control, following a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and taking any preventive measures your doctor recommends can help reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.

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Will Anything Change With My Cancer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risk of exposure to the virus, most hospitals and clinics have changed their visitation policies. Some may allow 1 visitor per patient, and others may allow no visitors. Masks and physical distancing are still required in health-care settings. Before heading to your medical appointment, check with the clinic or hospital for their current visitor policy.

Your cancer care team may conduct some of your appointments by telemedicine. During a telemedicine appointment, you can stay at home and visit with your doctor or other health care team member through video conferencing using your phone or computer. Your doctors office will give you instructions on how to have your visit this way. If you are interested in having a visit by telemedicine rather than in person, ask your doctor’s office staff if this is possible.

If community spread of COVID-19 in your area is high, your doctor may recommend delaying some treatments for supportive care, such as bone-strengthening treatments, for example, denosumab or zoledronic acid , or intravenous iron supplementation. They will only recommend delaying treatments if they feel it is in your best interest to do so.

Can You Have Breast Cancer Without Feeling A Lump

Finding a lump, either during a self-examination or an annual physical, might be how most women think breast cancer is found.

However, the goal of screening mammography is to find a cancer when it is too small to feel, says Ermelinda Bonaccio, MD, Chair of Diagnostic Radiology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

We encourage women to be familiar with their breasts and to promptly report any changes to their physician. When woman do feel a lump, it is typically not during a self-directed monthly exam but they just happen to notice it. Most lumps women feel are not cancer but it is important to have it evaluated with mammography and/or ultrasound because you cannot tell by how it feels whether it is cancer, Dr. Bonaccio says. However, the best way to find an early cancer in most women is with mammography.

Many women will tell me after I find something on a mammogram or ultrasound that they feel fine and do not feel anything in their breast, Dr. Bonaccio says. That is the goal: we are trying to find the cancer before you feel anything. That is why we recommend women come in every year for their mammogram.

It is also important to remember that most woman who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer. “I always tell women that you need to have a screening mammogram every year if you are over age 40, even if no one in your family has had breast cancer, Dr. Bonaccio says.

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