What About Other Treatments That I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
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.
What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.
If you still have a breast , youll need to get a mammogram every year. Depending on your treatment, you might need other tests as well, such as yearly pelvic exams or bone density tests.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.
Mammogram And Breast Ultrasound
If you have symptoms and have been referred to a specialist breast unit by a GP, you’ll probably be invited to have a mammogram, which is an X-ray of your breasts. You may also need an ultrasound scan.
If cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you may need another mammogram or ultrasound scan.
Your doctor may suggest that you only have a breast ultrasound scan if you’re under the age of 35. This is because younger women have denser breasts, which means a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in detecting cancer.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your breasts, showing any lumps or abnormalities.
Your breast specialist may also suggest a breast ultrasound if they need to know whether a lump in your breast is solid or contains liquid.
Find out more about breast screening.
How Is Breast Density Measured
When you have a mammogram, a radiologist reads the results using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, or BI-RADS, published by the American College of Radiology. This is a standard system for reporting whats seen on the imaging.
BI-RADS uses an assessment scale from 1 through 6 to indicate whether there were no unusual findings or, if something was found, whether it was more likely benign or malignant . The report will also give a recommendation for routine screening or indicate what follow-up tests may be needed. An assessment of 0 means that additional imaging is first needed in order to characterize a potential finding.
In the BI-RADS report, the radiologist also includes a score for breast density on a scale from A through D:
A) Mostly fatty: The breasts are made up of mostly fatty tissue and contain very little fibrous and glandular tissue. About 10% of women have fatty breasts.
B) Scattered fibroglandular densities: The breasts are mostly fatty tissue, but there are a few areas of fibrous and glandular tissue visible on the mammogram. About 40% of women have scattered density.
C) Heterogeneously dense: A mammogram shows many areas of fibrous and glandular tissue. About 40% of women get this result.
D) Extremely dense: The breasts have large amounts of fibrous and glandular tissue. About 10% of women fall into this category.1
From left to right: BI-RADS categories A through D
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Breast Cancer Survival Rate
Breast cancer survival rates vary widely based on many factors.
Two of the most important factors are the type of cancer you have and the stage of the cancer at the time you receive a diagnosis. Other factors that may play a role include your age, gender, and race.
shows theres a higher mortality rate in non-white people diagnosed with breast cancer compared with white people. One reason for this may be healthcare disparities.
The good news is breast cancer survival rates are improving.
According to the ACS , in 1975, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer in women was 75.2 percent. But for women diagnosed between 2008 and 2014, it was 90.6 percent.
Five-year survival rates for breast cancer differ depending on stage at diagnosis, ranging from 99 percent for localized, early stage cancers to 27 percent for advanced, metastatic cancers.
Talking To Your Childrens School About Your Breast Cancer
School is an important part of your childrens life and the teachers and other children can help provide stability and support at a time of change at home. Interacting with your childrens school may feel daunting, but by working with the school youll enable staff to plan and provide the help and support youd prefer.
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There’s Dimpling On Your Breast Skin
Noticing some dimpling in the skin of one of your breasts might not seem like a big deal, but it could be a sign of breast cancer, says the Mayo Clinic. The issuewhich is called peau d’ orange, due to its resemblance of the texture of an orange peelcould be a sign of a more invasive type of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptoms: What You Need To Know
Finding breast cancer early usually makes it easier to treat. Along with getting regular screening mammograms, being aware of how your breasts look and feel is an important part of early detection. Some breast cancer signs are detected best by mammogram. Other signs may be more eaily seen as changes in how the breasts look or feel.
It is important to know that not all changes in the breasts are cancer. Benign breast conditions are much more common than breast cancer. But it is important to let your health care team know about any changes in your breast so they can be looked into.
Below are some common breast symptoms that should be checked right away.
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Risk Factors For 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:
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.
Who Should I Tell
You can tell the headteacher, your childrens form/class teacher or another teacher you feel able to talk to. Some schools have a member of staff who oversees pastoral care or a school nurse who you can approach. Face-to-face contact with a member of school staff may be best, but if thats not possible you could make initial contact through a telephone call, letter or email.
Talk to your children beforehand to make sure they know who youre telling and why. Their favourite trusted teacher might not be the one you immediately think of, so its a good idea to check with them first. Young children sometimes want their class to be informed, while older children often want as few people as possible to know.
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Breast Cancer Screening & Early Detection
After the age of 45, women should go for annual mammograms, breast exams, and cancer screenings to be proactive in detecting an abnormality. Catching cancer in its early stages is crucial for increasing a patient’s survival rate. If women are at a high risk due to family history or risk factors such as being overweight or having a previous exposure to chest radiation, they may want to consider scheduling mammograms earlier. If something irregular is detected, doctors may also order a breast ultrasound or a needle biopsy to further inspect the area. Patients should understand the proper protocols for detection, and doctors should communicate recommendations and offer insights about potential concerns.
If a doctor fails to order age-based cancer screenings, ignores a patient’s symptoms and concerns that may align with a breast cancer diagnosis, or fails to consider previous health conditions and red flags, a patient may not be receiving the standard of care that is to be expected. If a breast cancer diagnosis is delayed, leading to a more invasive breast cancer in its later stages, patients may be eligible to file a breast cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit and be awarded compensation for costly cancer treatments, pain, and suffering.
How Can You Tell If You Have Breast Cancer
By | Submitted On September 14, 2006
There are some signs that may tell you if you have breast cancer. Breast cancer is formed when normal cells divide and multiple in uncontrollable fashion. This causes the development of extra cells which further lump together and create a tumor. Some physical changes may appear in the breast and its surrounding area such as presence of lumps that does not go away, inversion of the nipple, discharge from the breast, and changes to the skin color which overlies the breast.
Bear in mind that most lumps that are found in the breast are not always cancerous. However, you should consult with a doctor to have them checked. Discharge from the breast is also a common problem in women, which does not necessarily lead to a cancer disease. Changes in nipple, which makes it pointing inward, are often temporary and considered normal in some women. Nevertheless, if those conditions become permanent then it should be discussed with your doctor.
Symptoms of breast cancer vary depending on the stage it is in. There is usually no obvious pain or any signs in the early stage of breast cancer. The development of breast cancer can take from a period of months or years. Once the disease is detected, treatment has to be given immediately to avoid the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body, which is known as metastastic spread.
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Understanding A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
When being diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s important for patients and their loved ones to take time to process the situation above all else. Although time may be of the essence, it’s important that patients enter their treatment journey with a clear head to ensure that every decision is made with their best interest in mind. Coming to terms with a diagnosis is a critical step in the process.
HER2 refers to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, a gene that can play a role in breast cancer development. The gene controls how breast cells grow, divide, and repair themselves, making overproduction a potential red flag for breast cancer.
Patients and their families should also bring any questions or concerns to a doctor as soon as possible, especially if they relate to treatment options. A doctor should provide information regarding the type of cancer, the HER2 status, and its stage during the first appointment, so patients and families can begin to make a plan to move forward. Patients should feel comfortable asking questions about where the cancer is located, long-term outlook, and next steps. Having these conversations as quickly as possible and implementing a treatment plan will give the patient the best chance of survival, as diagnoses often worsen when left untreated.
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 don’t have many details yet, just gather up what you do know and prepare to be honest.
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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.
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.
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Planning Financially For Breast Cancer Treatment
An unexpected cancer diagnosis often comes with a heavy financial burden. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, surgeries, and medications throughout the treatment journey can come as a shock, especially if they turn out to be out-of-pocket expenses. Medical bills can create additional stress in already trying times, so it’s important that patients understand any and all expenses that may arise during breast cancer treatment.
Patients should always contact their insurance company to see what expenses will be covered by insurance and what resources will require funds from elsewhere. Crowdfunding via sites like GoFundMe has become a popular way to cover medical and living expenses throughout the treatment journey, as patients look to the support of their friends, family, and even generous strangers in their community. If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving a misdiagnosis, compensation from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can also help ease the financial stress of growing medical bills.
Your Nipple Is Turning Inward
If your nipple is starting to turn inward when it wasn’t retracted before, it could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is much more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, says the American Cancer Society. Because of that, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss any concerning changes.
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You Have Enlarged Lymph Nodes Around Your Collarbone
Your armpits aren’t the only subtle place you might experience lymph node swelling due to breast cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the same issue can also occur above or below your collarbonesa location most people don’t even realize they have a set of lymph nodes in the first place. And for more red flags that aren’t always so obvious, check out 40 Subtle Signs Your Body Is Telling You Something’s Seriously Wrong.
Telling Your Children You Have Breast Cancer
Some parents avoid telling their children for fear of upsetting them or having to answer difficult questions. But children are able to pick up on changes and may know when somethings upsetting or worrying you.
If a child feels left out, they may start to think theyve done something wrong or create a story that could be far worse than the truth. Many children feel they cant tell you their worries, and retreat into themselves.
Children need to feel they can trust their parents, and being honest helps them do that. Keeping it a secret may also be tiring and difficult to maintain. There is also a risk that if you dont tell them, they will find out another way.
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