If The Cancer Comes Back
If cancer does return, your treatment options will depend on where it comes back, what treatments you’ve had before, and your current health and preferences. For more information on how recurrent cancer is treated, see Treatment of Recurrent Breast Cancer.
Its important to know that women who have had breast cancer can also still get other types of cancer. In fact, women who have had breast cancer are at higher risk for certain other cancers. Because of this, its important to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer, such as those for colorectal cancer and cervical cancer. To learn more about the risks of second cancers and what you can do about them, see Second Cancers After Breast Cancer.
What Happens If I Have Breast Implants
A mammogram is still the best way to detect early breast cancer, even if you have breast implants. But a small amount of the breast tissue might be hidden by the implant.
This means that it is not as easy to see all the breast tissue, and you may have more x rays taken. This will help the doctor see as much of the breast tissue as possible.
It is useful to let the screening unit staff know that you have implants before your mammogram.
If You’re Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
- What is the type and extent of the breast cancer?
- Whats my prognosis?
- What are my treatment options and how soon can they start?
- Should I continue taking HRT or the Pill?
- Are there any changes I should make to make to my lifestyle ?
- Will I be able to carry on working?
- Are my female relatives at a higher than average breast cancer risk?
- Can I have tests to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of my body?
- Are there any clinical trials that I might be able to participate in?
- What services does this hospital provide to help me through this?
- Who can I telephone later if Im worried about diagnosis and treatment?
Read Also: How Breast Cancer Affects The Body
Should I Go For Breast Screening
Its important that you have access to enough information about the benefits and harms of breast screening to make the decision.
You can talk to your own doctor or nurse. Or you can contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Whats The Difference Between A Breast Self
A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional who is trained to recognize many different types of abnormalities and warning signs. This in-office exam will most likely be completed by your family physician or gynecologist at your annual exam, whereas your breast self-exam is something every woman should do at once at month at home.
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Should I Check My Breasts Or Chest
It is good to be breast aware. This means getting to know what your breasts or chest usually look and feel like, so you know whats normal for you. This includes knowing what your breasts are like at different times of the month.
But there is no need to worry about regularly checking your breasts or chest at a set time or in a set way. Research has shown that women who regularly self-check their breasts arent any less likely to die from breast cancer. But they are almost twice as likely to have an unnecessary test on a lump that turns out not to be cancer.
Remember, its still important to listen to your body and tell your doctor if youve noticed any unusual lumps or other changes that arent normal for you. Whether its your breasts, nipples or any other body part, if somethings not quite right , get it checked out.
You can read more about breast changes to look out for on our signs and symptoms page.
How To Do A Breast Cancer Check At Home
Did you know that your breast can feel and look different during your menstrual cycle?
Yes, thats correct.
Just as how your body undergoes changes during different stages of life, your breasts can also look and feel different from time to time. For example, when youre pregnant or have periods, your breast will most likely look and feel different too.
This provides the key to breast cancer awareness. Being breast aware is like a risk analysis tool! So, when you notice something suspicious, you can meet your doctors to find out what is going on.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at Territory Medical, were serious about breast health.
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Assessing The Extent And Spread
If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread – for example:
- Blood tests.
- How large the tumour has grown.
- Whether the cancer has spread to local lymph nodes in the armpit.
- Whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body .
Finding out the stage of the cancer, the grade of the cells and the receptor status of the cancer helps doctors to advise on the best treatment options. It also gives a reasonable indication of outlook.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
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Symptoms That Are Difficult To See Or Touch
Some common cancer symptoms are easy to see. But others can happen inside your body or be a change to how your body works. These changes can be more difficult to spot or describe. But being aware of how you usually feel can help you notice when somethings different.
It might be a cough that lasts for a few weeks, a change in your poo, heartburn that keeps coming back or any other change that isnt normal for you. But whatever the symptom is, when something doesnt feel quite right dont ignore it. Take charge and speak to your doctor.
And its important not to put any unusual changes, aches or pains down to just getting older or assume something is part of another health condition. If its not normal for you, get it checked out.
What Does A Lump In Your Breast Feel Like
A new lump is one of the most common signs of breast cancer. Lumps that are breast cancers can vary. For example, they may be painless or painful. Lumps can also be a sign of a benign breast condition. However, if you have found a new lump or breast change, it is important to see your doctor so that it can be checked by a health professional.
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Breast Changes To Look Out For
See a GP if you notice any of the following changes:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
If You Are Age 55 Or Over:
Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.
Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.
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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.
How Do I Self
Lots of people talk about doing self-checks , to try and spot cancer early.
Its good to be aware of what your body is normally like, so its easier to notice if anything changes. But theres no good evidence to suggest that regularly self-checking any part of your body in a set time or set way is helpful. It can actually do more harm than good, by picking up things which wouldnt have gone on to cause you problems.
Self-checking is different to cancer screening read more about screening for cancer.
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Can Breast Implants Have Lumps
The hard lumps that form in patients with old liquid silicone implants are caused by pockets of silicones that have seeped into the breast tissue. Using imaging techniques such as ultrasound, mammograms, and magnetic resonance imaging, these can be detected and differentiated from breast cancer lumps.
If You Have A Gene Mutation
If you have had tests that showed a change in a gene that increases the risk of breast cancer, the recommendations are slightly different.
UK guidelines recommend yearly MRI scans from:
- age 20 for women with a TP53 mutation
- age 30 for women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
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Tamoxifen And Raloxifene For Women At High Risk
Although not commonly thought of as a healthybehavior, taking the prescription drugs tamoxifenand raloxifene can significantly lower the risk ofbreast cancer in woman at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention,these powerful drugs can have side effects, sothey arent right for everyone. If you think youreat high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.
Should I Worry About Breast Pain
Although most cases of breast pain are minor problems, its important to talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you have persistent breast pain, you should be evaluated, says Wright. And anyone who has a lump painful or not should see their doctor for an exam to make sure there isnt a problem.
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Is There A Correlation Between Breast Implants And Breast Cancer
There is no link between breast implants and breast cancer. You are also not at risk of breast cancer from them. However, research shows that women with breast implants are at a greater risk for anaplastic large-cell lymphoma . Non-Hodgkins lymphomas, such as ALCL, are not caused by the immune system.
How To Prepare For A Breast Self
The best time to do a breast self-exam is a few days after your monthly menstrual cycle ends. Hormonal changes can affect the size and feel of your breasts, so its best to perform the exam when your breasts are in their normal state.
Women who dont menstruate should choose a certain day to perform the exam, such as the first day of each month.
You should also keep a journal of your self-exams. This will help you track and record any changes you have noticed in your breasts.
Start by standing topless in front of a mirror with your hands at your sides.
Visually inspect your breasts for the following:
- changes in size, shape, or symmetry
- asymmetrical ridges at the bottom
Check for these signs with your hands at your sides. Then, with your arms over your head, and again when lifting one breast at a time.
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How To Do A Self
Regular self-breast exams are something every woman should feel comfortable and confident doing as a part of a healthy routine. Follow our guide to discover the two-step method that will help you carry out a thorough self-breast exam. Of course, home breast checks do not replace a professional diagnosis, so if youre at all concerned, we recommend you consult your doctor or gynecologist as soon as you spot anything out of the ordinary.
Advocating For Breast Cancer Awareness Through Art
Romina is the founder of Just Breast and believes there is a choice in everything we do, and her choice is to leave a mark. With her art she is hoping to inspire others to do the same.
In a creative and playful way, Romina reflects the unique and complex difference between breasts. She defuses the predetermined perception of the body and presents her artwork for exactly what it is.This has brought her art into more than 200 homes around the world. And it doesnt end there. 10% of her profit goes straight to the Pink Ribbon Organization for Breast Cancer awareness and prevention.
Please could you tell me a little more about how & why you set up Just Breast?
The idea for Just Breast was created in late 2014, when I was in a situation I was not aware of myself. I was supporting my ex-boyfriend with going through a dramatic happening in his life. Without knowing, I lost 10 kg and had no period and was in need of expressing everything going on inside of me.
I bought canvas and paint and was about to start creating something but then realised I have no clue how to paint or what to paint… So I thought maybe it’s easier to do it with my breasts. The closest thing to my heart.
For a couple of years I did these prints for myself and realised it became like healing for me, art healing. But I knew I could expand this idea and maybe also help others.
Can you tell me more about the workshops? What are some of the things you say to the people who participate?
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Is There A Particular Time Of The Month I Should Do Breast Self
Women should do a breast self-exam once a month, every month. Women who are still menstruating should perform a breast self-exam after their period. Women who have stopped menstruating and those who have very irregular periods can pick a day each month. Choose a day that is consistent and easy to remember, like the first day of the month, the last day of the month or your favorite number.
How To Perform A Breast Cancer Self
1. Simply look at your breasts in the mirror. Look from different angles, with your arms down and then raised.
What you should see:
- Breasts that are smooth and don’t show any visible signs of distortion
- The usual size, shape and color of your breasts
Signs to look out for:
- Changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering or bulging
- Changes in the position of either nipple
- Any redness, splotches or other signs of a rash
- Abnormal swelling
- Any signs of fluid coming from either nipple
2. Feel your breasts while lying down, and then again while standing up. Using the pads of your first two or three fingers, make circular motions about the size of a quarter along the entire surface of your breasts and near your armpit. Use light, medium and firm pressure to feel the different layers of tissue.
What you should feel:
- The usual consistency of your breasts
- Whatever is “normal” in the different regions of your breasts
Signs to look out for:
- Lumps or hard masses in your breast tissue
- Thickening or fullness that feels different than the surrounding tissue
- Unusual warmth
- A nipple that has become inverted
Self-breast exams aren’t a surefire way to detect breast cancer — only medical testing, such as mammograms, can do that — but they can help you become more familiar with your breasts and, as such, more aware of any changes.
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In The Shower Or Bath
It may be easier to check your breasts while youre in the shower or bath, as your hands are wet. This makes it easier to slide your hand over your breasts.
An easy way to check your breasts is to: