How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Different From Other Types Of Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer differs from other types of breast cancer in several ways:
- IBC doesn’t look like a typical breast cancer. It often does not cause a breast lump, and it might not show up on a mammogram. This makes it harder to diagnose.
- IBC tends to occur in younger women .
- African-American women appear to develop IBC more often than white women.
- IBC is more common among women who are overweight or obese.
- IBC also tends to be more aggressiveit grows and spreads much more quicklythan more common types of breast cancer.
- IBC is always at a locally advanced stage when its first diagnosed because the breast cancer cells have grown into the skin.
- In about 1 of every 3 cases, IBC has already spread to distant parts of the body when it is diagnosed. This makes it harder to treat successfully.
- Women with IBC tend to have a worse prognosis than women with other common types of breast cancer.
Other Teenage Breast Changes
Plenty of changes happen to your breasts that are not cancer. Most breast lumps in teenage girls are fibroadenomas, which are noncancerous. These are caused by an overgrowth of connective tissue in the breast.
Fibroadenomas are the reason for 91% of all solid breast masses in girls younger than 19 years old. The lump is usually hard and rubbery, and you would be able to move it around with your fingers.
Other less common breast lumps in teens include cysts, which are noncancerous fluid-filled sacs. A breast cyst often feels smooth and soft. If you press on a cyst, it will feel a little like a water balloon.
What Are The Symptoms
The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are
- A lump or swelling in the breast.
- Redness or flaky skin in the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Nipple discharge.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
These symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. If you have any symptoms that worry you, see your doctor right away.
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Breasts And Birth Control
Some research has shown that taking hormonal birth control slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. But once you stop using hormonal birth control, risk levels eventually return to normal.
An analysis of data from more than 150,000 women showed that, overall, women who had ever used oral contraceptives had a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer compared with women who had never used oral contraceptives.
If you use hormonal birth control and youre concerned about your cancer risk, discuss your options with your doctor before stopping your birth control.
Breast Cancer Screening In Teens
Although it is not typically recommended for women under 40 to undergo breast screening annually, its important for those teens experiencing symptoms to receive breast screening. Regular screening done at least every 3 years is recommended for women in their 20s. However, the American Cancer Society recommends that all women know how their breasts look and feel, and report any changes to their doctors. For younger women, digital mammography is recommended rather than a standard mammogram. It is most effective at identifying abnormalities in dense breast tissues.
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Types Of Breast Lumps That Teens Can Get
The most common type of breast cancer found in teens is secretory adenocarcinoma. This is generally a slow growing, nonaggressive cancer.
Though theres little chance of this type of cancer spreading to other parts of the body, spread to local lymph nodes has been noted in a few cases.
Most breast lumps in teenage girls are fibroadenomas, which are noncancerous. An overgrowth of connective tissue in the breast causes fibroadenomas.
The lump is usually hard and rubbery, and you can move it around with your fingers. Fibroadenomas account for 91 percent of all solid breast masses in girls younger than 19 years old.
Other less common breast lumps in teens include cysts, which are noncancerous fluid-filled sacs.
Banging or injuring breast tissue, possibly during a fall or while playing sports, can also cause lumps.
If you feel anything unusual in your breast, see your doctor. They will ask:
- about your familys medical history
- when you discovered the lump
- if theres nipple discharge
- if the lump hurts
If anything looks or feels suspicious, your doctor will have you undergo an ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to see into your breasts. It can help determine whether a lump is solid, which is an indication of cancer.
If its fluid-filled, that will most likely indicate a cyst. Your doctor may also insert a fine needle into the lump to draw out tissue and test it for cancer.
Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer In Younger Women
There are several ways in which the presentation of breast cancer may differ in women under the age of 40 years compared to its presentation in older women. The majority of young women with breast cancer present with symptoms. Older women are more likely than younger women to present with screen detected breast cancers because of established population mammographic screening in the over 50 age group.
There are several challenges in the diagnosis of breast cancer in young women. Clinical examination and breast imaging may be limited and this may contribute to a delay in diagnosis, which is more common in young women. Clinical breast examination is less sensitive in young women and breast cancer is rare in this group, whereas benign and physiological conditions of the breast are very common. As a result there is an inherently lower level of suspicion for cancer when assessing a young woman with breast symptoms.
Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women is more difficult because the breast tissue is generally denser/thicker than the breast tissue in older women. By the time a lump in a younger womans breast can be felt, the cancer is more often advanced.
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Risk Factors You Can Change
- Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
- Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
- Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
- Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a womans risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and changes in other hormones due to night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.
Unique Challenges For Young Adults
Breast cancer in young adults is just different. We are at a different phase of our lives and encounter unique challenges compared to older persons. These challenges may significantly impact our quality and length of life. Some of the unique challenges and issues young adults face:
- The possibility of early menopause and sexual dysfunction brought on by breast cancer treatment
- Fertility issues, because breast cancer treatment can affect a womanâs ability and plans to have children
- Many young women are raising small children while enduring treatment and subsequent side effects
- Young breast cancer survivors have a higher prevalence of psychosocial issues such as anxiety and depression13
- Questions about pregnancy after diagnosis
- Heightened concerns about body image, especially after breast cancer-related surgery and treatment
- Whether married or single, intimacy issues may arise for women diagnosed with breast cancer
- Challenges to financial stability due to workplace issues, lack of sufficient health insurance and the cost of cancer care
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Breast Cancer Treatment In Teens
Treatment for breast cancer in teens depends on how far the disease has spread and the teens general health and personal circumstances. All of these factors play an important role in what steps are taken. Some of the treatment options include:
- Surgery In these cases, a lumpectomy or mastectomy is conducted. A lumpectomy includes the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue. A mastectomy involves the removal of the whole breast. Depending on how far the disease has spread, either option may be best.
- Radiation This therapy is usually used following a lumpectomy. Using cancer-killing beams, radiation therapy targets undetected cancer cells further reducing the risk of cancer returning.
- Hormone This therapy is effective for those breast cancers that are affected by hormones in the blood. It utilizes drugs that block estrogen and/or progesterone.
- Chemotherapy This is usually administered after breast surgery but before radiation, and uses drugs directly injected into the vein via a needle or pill to target and kill cancer cells.
Types Of Breast Lumps
Common types of breast lumps include:
- Breast cysts are the most common type of lump in children and teens. A breast cyst is a fluid-fill pocket that can be just under the skin or inside the breast tissue. Breast cysts are almost always benign, but they can become painful just before a woman begins her period. The cyst might also change size over the course of her period.
- Fibroadenomas are often found in older teenagers and young women in their early 20s. They are typically painless and benign. Fibroadenomas are made up of gland and connective tissue and can be different sizes.
- Fibrocystic changes are normal changes in the texture of a womans breast tissue that causes the breasts to feel lumpy or ropy. The breasts may also be painful, especially right before a womans period. Fibrocystic breasts are common and harmless, but they can sometimes cause discomfort.
Less common causes of breast lumps include:
Only a doctor can diagnose the kind of breast lump that your child has. Breast lumps can also be caused by other conditions.
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Lisa Fought Breast Cancer For 8 Years Heres Her Story
In contrast to the common belief that surviving for five years after cancer treatment is equivalent to a cure, with hormone-sensitive breast tumors there is a steady rate of recurrence risk for at least 20 years after the original diagnosis, even with very small node-negative tumors.
Overall, the chance that an estrogen receptor-positive tumor will recur between five years and 20 years after diagnosis ranges from 10% to over 41%, and people with these tumors remain at risk for the remainder of their lives.
An awareness of the risk of late recurrence is important for a number of reasons. People are often shocked to learn that their breast cancer has come back after say, 15 years, and loved ones who don’t understand this risk are often less likely to be supportive as you cope with the fear of recurrence.
While chemotherapy has little effect on the risk of late recurrence hormonal therapy does, and estimating this risk may help determine who should receive extended hormonal therapy . Finally, late recurrences can differ from early relapse with regard to sites of metastases and survival.
Factors such as initial tumor size, number of nodes involved, and receptor status play into the risk of late recurrence, but tumor biology appears to have the greatest effect, and research is actively looking for ways to look at gene expression and copy number to predict risk.
Women Aged 90 And Older
Of the 9 women in their nineties at the time of diagnosis, 4 were diagnosed by screening mammography and the remainder were diagnosed by a palpable abnormality. Three cancers occurred in patients who had previous contralateral breast cancer. Of the 9 women, 8 were diagnosed at early stages . Four of the tumors in the women aged 90 and older were treated with mastectomy while 5 were treated with partial mastectomy. Of the 6 invasive tumors, 4 underwent axillary staging , but 2 did not. Of the five cancers treated with partial mastectomy, none received adjuvant radiation therapy. With regards to ER status, 2 cancers were ER positive and were treated with tamoxifen, 1 cancer with an unreported ER status was treated with tamoxifen, 1 cancer was ER negative, and 5 cancers had unknown ER status.
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What Is The Prognosis For Men With Breast Cancer
It depends on the kind, stage, and type of breast cancer. In general, when male breast cancer is detected at an early stage, men have a similar chance of recovery as women with breast cancer.
However, breast cancer is often diagnosed in men at a later stage because many may not routinely examine their breasts, arent aware that breast cancer can occur in men, or are embarrassed about having a breast-related complaint, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright.
Later detection of breast cancer means the cancer is harder to cure and may have spread to other areas of the body, such as the lymph nodes.
‘lightning Strikes’ When Young Girls Get Breast Cancer
Young women experience unique problems when diagnosed with breast cancer.
It started with a casual mention to her mother that she felt a quarter-sized lump in her right breast. Doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. She was 13 years old.
“I couldn’t tell her, I was just crying,” said her mother, Stephanie Anderson, when she learned of Taylor’s diagnosis. “I thought, ‘How am I going to explain this to my 13-year-old daughter about breast cancer?’ When I tried to talk to her, it just would not come out.”
The lump Thompson found in her breast was a type of fast-growing, potentially malignant tumor generally found in premenopausal women, not in girls Thompson’s age.
In fact, oncologists said finding cancerous breast cells in girls as young as Thompson is akin to being struck by lightning.
“They face issues all breast cancer patients face — dealing with a potentially life-threatening illness, mortality, toxic treatments, breast surgery,” said Dr. Ann Partridge, director of the Young Women and Breast Cancer program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. “But a person who is young deals with those at an age when they have their own so these are accentuated.”
Breast Cancer in Young Patients Is Rare
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Premature Menopause And Loss Of Fertility
Premature menopause and loss of fertility are significant considerations in young women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The risk of menopause with chemotherapy is dependent on age and the intensity of chemotherapy. The likelihood of menopause following chemotherapy increases with increasing age. A woman who has chemotherapy at age 30 years is unlikely to become menopausal with treatment at age 35 the risk is around 18%, and at age 40 years the risk is around 40%.
If future childbearing is planned, the option of using assisted reproduction techniques before chemotherapy and hormone therapy should be considered. Generally, this is more successful if the woman has a partner so that embryos can be frozen for future use following one or more cycles of in-vitro fertilisation.
What Is Different About Breast Cancer In Younger Women
Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women is more difficult because their breast tissue is generally more dense than the breast tissue in older women. By the time a lump in a younger woman’s breast can be felt, the cancer often is advanced.
In addition, breast cancer in younger women may be aggressive and less likely to respond to treatment . Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age are more likely to have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
Delays in diagnosing breast cancer also are a problem. Many younger women who have breast cancer ignore the warning signs — such as a breast lump or unusual discharge — because they believe they are too young to get breast cancer.
Many women assume they are too young to get breast cancer and tend to assume a lump is a harmless cyst or other growth. Some health care providers also dismiss breast lumps in young women as cysts and adopt a “wait and see” approach.
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How Are Breast Lumps Treated In Children
Most breast lumps in children dont need treatment if they are not getting bigger or causing pain.
- A breast lump may only need to be monitored by a doctor to see if the lump gets larger or begins hurting.
- An ultrasound of the lump may be used to help diagnose what type of lump it is.
- The doctor may take a biopsy .
Lumps that are growing quickly may need to be surgically removed. This is done with a procedure called a lumpectomy .
Could I Get Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in young girls is extremely rare and the majority of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. In your early teenage years, you shouldnt worry too much about your breasts however, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk over your lifetime.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Its important to develop good patterns of healthy eating early in your life. Avoid junk foods and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Regular exercise also reduces your risk. The World Health Organisation recommends that children and youth should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. Its important to continue to exercise regularly throughout your life.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking as both of these contribute to cancer risk.
Its never too early to start adopting a healthy lifestyle. From the age of 20 you should also start checking your breasts regularly so that you know what they normally feel like. That way any changes can be picked up early and checked out by your GP.
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