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How Do You Find Out If You Have Breast Cancer

Getting A Breast Biopsy

Vlog 7: How I found out I have Breast Cancer

In a breast biopsy, the doctor takes out small pieces of breast tissue to check them for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if you have breast cancer.

There are many types of biopsies. Ask your doctor what kind you will need. Each type has risks and benefits. The choice of which type to use depends on your own case.

Sometimes, surgery is needed to take out all or part of the lump to find out if its cancer. This is often done in a hospital using local anesthesia . You might also be given medicine to make you sleepy.

Treatments To Reduce Your Risk

If you have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer, for example, a BRCA gene carrier, treatment might be available to reduce your risk. This applies to a very small minority of women.

Your level of risk is determined by factors such as your age, your family’s medical history, and the results of genetic tests.

You will usually be referred to a specialist genetics service if it’s thought you have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. Healthcare professionals working at these services might discuss treatment options with you.

The 2 main treatments are surgery to remove the breasts or medication. These are described in more detail below.

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.

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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

Do I Still Need A Second Opinion If My Mammogram Came Back Positive

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Mammograms are about 87% effective in detecting invasive breast cancer cells. Depending on the doctor and his or her interpretation of the mammogram, test results can still yield a false-negative or false-positive. You should always follow-up and get a specialist’s second opinion to confirm the diagnosis and to get more information about your treatment options and next steps.

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Can Cancer Form In Other Parts Of The Breast

Cancers can also form in other parts of the breast, but these types of cancer are less common. These can include:

  • Angiosarcomas. This type of cancer begins in the cells that make up the lining of blood or lymph vessels. These cancers can start in breast tissue or breast skin. They are rare.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer is rare and different from other types of breast cancer. It is caused by obstructive cancer cells in the skins lymph vessels.
  • Paget disease of the breast, also known as Paget disease of the nipple. This cancer affects the skin of the nipple and areola .
  • Phyllodes tumors. These are rare, and most of these masses are not cancer. However, some are cancerous. These tumors begin in the breasts connective tissue, which is called the stroma.

What I Wish People Knew About Metastatic Breast Cancer

Recurrent breast cancer is breast cancer that returns after initial treatment it may occur months or years after your initial treatment. The highest risk of recurrence is during the first two years after treatment, though the majority of patients won’t experience recurrence.

There’s currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer but with treatment to control it, many patients with the disease now live productive, fulfilling lives for years.

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What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer

The most common types of breast cancer are:

  • Infiltrating ductal carcinoma. This cancer starts in the milk ducts of the breast. It then breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the surrounding tissue in the breast. This is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of cases.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ is ductal carcinoma in its earliest stage, or precancerous . In situ refers to the fact that the cancer hasn’t spread beyond its point of origin. In this case, the disease is confined to the milk ducts and has not invaded nearby breast tissue. If untreated, ductal carcinoma in situ may become invasive cancer. It is almost always curable.
  • Infiltrating lobular carcinoma. This cancer begins in the lobules of the breast where breast milk is produced, but has spread to surrounding tissues in the breast. It accounts for 10 to 15% of breast cancers. This cancer can be more difficult to diagnose with mammograms.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ is a marker for cancer that is only in the lobules of the breast. It isn’t a true cancer, but serves as a marker for the increased risk of developing breast cancer later, possibly in both or either breasts. Thus, it is important for women with lobular carcinoma in situ to have regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

What Is The Grade Of My Tumor

Finding Out I Have HER 2 Breast Cancer

Grading is not the same as staging. Both are indicators of a cancers severity and prognosis, but they use different criteria. Staging deals with the tumor size, location and the distribution of cancer cells in your body. But grading is based on how the cancer cells appear under a microscope.

The more abnormal-looking the cells are, the more likely they are to quickly grow and spread. Grades usually run from I to III. A higher grade is a more aggressive cancer. Its possible to have a Stage I tumor thats also a Grade III cancer.

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Supporting Your Young Child When You Have Breast Cancer

In this article:

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be terrifying to any woman.

But to a mother caring for a young child, the diagnosis brings an additional set of worries.Going through treatment for breast cancer while raising children is never easy, but emotional distress can be minimized by thoughtful communication, acknowledgment of your childs concerns, and some careful planning.

Biopsy Of An Enlarged Lymph Node

If any of the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone are swollen, they may be checked for cancer directly with a needle biopsy, either a fine needle aspiration or a core needle biopsy. Less often, the enlarged node is removed with surgery. If cancer is found in the lymph node, more nodes will need to be removed during an axillary lymph node dissection .

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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.

Who Gets Breast Cancer

How to find out you have breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women other than skin cancer. Increasing age is the most common risk factor for developing breast cancer, with 66% of breast cancer patients being diagnosed after the age of 55.

In the US, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, and it’s the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54. Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers occur in women with a clearly defined genetic predisposition for the disease. The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic, meaning there is no definitive gene mutation.

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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

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.

Invasive Breast Cancer Symptoms

Most breast cancers start in the ducts, or the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, or in the lobules, the little clusters of sacs where breast milk is made. Invasive breast cancer refers to breast cancer that spreads from the original site to other areas of the breast, the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. In these cancers that form in the ducts or lobules, invasive ductal carcinoma or invasive lobular carcinoma , the cancer spreads from the ducts or lobules to other tissue. Depending on the stage, you may notice symptoms.

Invasive breast cancer symptoms may include:

  • A lump or mass in the breast
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast, even if no lump is felt
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • A lump or swelling in the underarm lymph nodes

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Breast Exam By Your Doctor

The same guidelines for self-exams provided above are true for breast exams done by your doctor or other healthcare professional. They wont hurt you, and your doctor may do a breast exam during your annual visit.

If youre having symptoms that concern you, its a good idea to have your doctor do a breast exam. During the exam, your doctor will check both of your breasts for abnormal spots or signs of breast cancer.

Your doctor may also check other parts of your body to see if the symptoms youre having could be related to another condition.

Answers From The Community

Im Worried I Have Breast Cancer. How to Find Out?
  • Cindy

    My major symptoms of ovarian cancer appeared suddenly. One minute I was full of energy and wanting to get out of the house and do things. Then it abruptly hit and I had pain in my right lower abdomen any time I moved. After a couple of days, I started to get a low fever. I then went to see my doctor because I thought I might be having an appendicitis. She thought that it was a possibility and checked me into the hospital. While in the hospital getting tests done, I started feeling very bloated and my abdomen became larger than normal. An earlier symptom I had was that my stools were getting smaller around due to my ovarian tumor pressing on my colon. I may have had other symptoms but I attributed them to menopause.

  • packerbacker

    I started having ear aches and jaw pain. I blew it off because I had just had dental work and thought I had a dry socket, so the dentist treated me for that with antibiotics and pain pills. Well, it kept getting worse and then my throat became sore and swallowing was painful. when I finally went to the ENT, he felt around and within 2 days I was diagnosed with tongue cancer.

  • cris

    I had pain in my right breast along with a large lump, but everyone kept telling me it can’t be cancer because cancer doesn’t hurt, so I thought I had some type of infection, so when the doctor came back after the biopsy & told me it was cancer I was shocked. The doctor said cancer usually doesn’t hurt but everybody is different. Oh yea my breast also bled alot.

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    How To Check Your Breasts

    Theres no special way to check your breasts and you do not need any training.

    Checking your breasts is as easy as TLC:

    • Touch your breasts: can you feel anything new or unusual?
    • Look for changes: does anything look different to you?
    • Check any new or unusual changes with a GP

    Everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes.

    Get used to checking regularly and be aware of anything thats new or different for you.

    Check your whole breast area, including up to your collarbone and armpits.

    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

    • A small, hard cyst

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    Is A Mastectomy My Only Option

    A mastectomy is just one of several treatment options for breast cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, other options can include a lumpectomy, which only removes the cancerous tissue and a small portion of healthy tissue rather than the entire breast, lymph node removal, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy. Some treatment options are more aggressive than others, so your team of healthcare professionals will be able to provide you with the best option for your cancer based on its stage and your health. Clinical trials also serve as an option, but there is no guaranteed success, and the side effects may be greater than those from standard treatment.

    Five Stages Of Finding Out You Have Cancer

    How did you find out you had breast cancer?

    Stage 1. Temporary deafness. I dont know what it is, but when someone says the word cancer as it relates to you, you lose your ability to hear the rest of the sentence. I know I was on the phone with this radiologist for like 20 minutes while she explained what the next steps would be for my now-cancerous self, but the call might as well have been a text message that said u have cancer lol for all I remember. Even afterward, when my parents and brother tried to talk to me about it, I felt like I was lying at the bottom of a pool and they were shouting at me from above the surface, their words distorted and muted.

    A few hours after my temporary deafness subsided, I morphed into Oprah. I was like a fountain of crappy needlepoint sayings, spouting out bullshit like, What doesnt kill me makes me stronger! and God wouldnt give me anything I couldnt handle! I wouldnt call it hopefulness, exactly it was more like last minute, panic-induced mania, probably induced by the same biological response that causes all your capillaries to explode in a futile attempt to warm you moments before you die of hypothermia.

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