What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Breast Cancer
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional.
Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.
By performing monthly;breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast. ;Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.
How Do You Know If You Have Cancer
There are over 200 different types of cancer that can cause many different symptoms. Sometimes symptoms are linked to certain cancer types. But signs can also be more general, including weight loss, tiredness or unexplained pain.
You dont need to try and remember all the signs and symptoms of cancer, but we have listed some key ones to give you an idea of the kind of things to be aware of. These symptoms are more often a sign of something far less serious – but if it is cancer, spotting it early can make a real difference.
Remember,;anyone can develop cancer, but its more common as we get older. Most cases are in people aged 50 or over. Whatever your age, its always best to listen to your body and talk to your doctor if something doesnt feel quite right. Whether its a change thats new, unusual, or something that wont go away get it checked out.
Some possible signs of cancer like a lump – are better known than others. But just because some symptoms are more well known, doesnt mean theyre more important, or more likely to be cancer. If you spot anything that isnt normal for you – dont ignore it. Whether its on this list or not, get it checked out.
Finding Breast Cancer With Screening
The UK national breast screening programme uses breast x-rays to find breast cancer early before it causes symptoms.
The programme invites;women between the ages of 50 and 70 to have a mammogram every 3 years. In England, the screening programme is currently extending the age range from 47 to 73. Women older than this can ask to carry on having screening every 3 years.
Even with the breast screening programme, some breast cancers;are first spotted by women themselves.;This might be because the woman is too young to have started screening. Or it may be because she stopped having screening when she reached the age of 70. Or it could be that a breast cancer starts to cause symptoms between mammograms. This is known as an interval cancer.
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Black Women And Breast Cancer Screening
Some studies have shown that fewer Black women are screened and adequately treated, resulting in higher mortality rates.
Even with a prompt diagnosis, there are several barriers to health care, like:
- Lack of insurance
- Transportation challenges
- Financial strain
These are compounded by the wealth gap between Black and White families in the United States that can lead to delayed initiation of treatment. This can have wide-ranging and devastating consequences.
Still, research has also shown that Black women fare far worse than White women even when socioeconomic differences are accounted for. If you have any suspicion of breast cancer, seek immediate medical attention.
What To Do Afterbreast Cancer Signs Appear
If you notice any of the aforementioned breast cancer symptoms on yourself, your next step should be scheduling an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will take a look at your breasts and conduct a visual and manual check to confirm that the signs of breast cancer are present. Then, they will likely call for further tests to be conducted, such as amammogram,ultrasound, breast MRI, orbiopsy.
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Is All Remission The Same
No. There are two types:
Partial: Treatments have killed off most of your cancer cells, but tests show you still have some in your body. Your tumor has shrunk at least to half of its original size or hasnât grown bigger. Your doctor may also say itâs stable.
Complete: All signs of your cancer and its symptoms are gone.
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.
Does A Breast Tattoo Hurt
Breast numbness after a mastectomy is common, so most people feel little to no pain when getting a nipple tattoo after a mastectomy.
Mastectomy significantly reduces sensation in the breasts, as nerves are cut during the surgery. If you have nipple reconstruction, your new nipple wont have any sensation.
Women with implants also experience less sensation, even if they have a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy.
How much a nipple tattoo hurts, if at all, varies from person to person. Everyone is different.
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Treatment Options For Metastatic Breast Cancer
Treatment for metastatic breast cancer often is based on systemic therapies, which use drugs rather than surgery or radiation. Metastases treatments are designed to shrink tumors and slow their growth, help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may change, such as when one therapy stops working, or the side effects become too uncomfortable. Rather than having only one treatment, most patients undergo several treatments combined to help fight the cancer.
The four broad categories of drug-based treatments are:
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What Is The Female Breast Made Of
Also called the mammary glands, female breasts are mostly made of fatty tissue along with blood vessels, nerves, lymph nodes, bands of connective or fibrous tissue to hold everything together, and the milk system, including ducts and lobes. The amount of fat largely determines your breast size.
Some People With Dcis Get Radiation
Next, doctors and patients should decide together whether further treatment is needed to reduce the risk of another DCIS or an invasive cancer. This can be determined through genomic testing, or by looking at factors like the patient’s age, family history, and tumor size and grade.
“Several years ago, radiation would have been given to everyone who had DCIS, period,” says Dr. Meyers. “But now, it’s a little more tailored to the type of DCIS and the type of patient, and there’s been a downward trend of getting less radiation or avoiding it completely, if possible.”
Radiation does come with side effectsand it has not been shown to extend survival in patients with DCIS; it’s only been shown to reduce the risk of another cancer occurring. So patients should weigh the pros and cons carefully, says Dr. Meyers, and make the best individual decision for them.
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When Is The Right Time To Use Hospice Care
Many people believe that hospice care is only appropriate in the last days or weeks of life. Yet Medicare states that it can be used as much as 6 months before death is anticipated. And those who have lost loved ones say that they wish they had called in hospice care sooner.
Research has shown that patients and families who use hospice services report a higher quality of life than those who dont. Hospice care offers many helpful services, including medical care, counseling, and respite care. People usually qualify for hospice when their doctor signs a statement saying that patients with their type and stage of disease, on average, arent likely to survive beyond 6 months. More information about hospice can be found below in the Related Resources section of this fact sheet.
What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. It starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control.
Breast;cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer is most common in women, but;men can get breast cancer, too.
Breast cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body and grow there, too. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis.
Cancer is always named based on the place where it starts. So even if breast cancer spreads to the bones , its still called breast cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts from cells in the bone.
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What Are The Signs That Death Is Approaching And What Can The Caregiver Do To Make The Person Comfortable During This Time
Certain signs and symptoms can help a caregiver anticipate when death is near. They are described below, along with suggestions for managing them. However, each persons experience at the end of life is different. What may happen to one person may not happen for another. Also, the presence of one or more of these symptoms doesnt necessarily mean that the patient is close to death. A member of the health care team can give family members and caregivers more information about what to expect.
Withdrawal from friends and family:
- People often focus inward during the last weeks of life. This doesnt necessarily mean that patients are angry or depressed or that they dont love their caregivers. It could be caused by decreased oxygen to the brain, decreased blood flow, or mental preparation for dying.
- They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy, such as favorite TV shows, friends, or pets.
- Caregivers can let the patient know they are there for support. The person may be aware and able to hear, even if they are unable to respond. Experts advise that giving them permission to let go may be helpful. If they do feel like talking, they may want to reminisce about joys and sorrows, or tie up loose ends.
The dying process:
What Are The Parts Of The Breast
A womans breast has three kinds of tissue
- Fibrous tissue holds the breast tissue in place.
- Glandular tissue is the part of the breast that makes milk, called the lobes, and the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, called ducts. Together, fibrous and glandular tissue are called fibroglandular tissue.
- Fatty tissue fills the space between the fibrous tissue, lobes, and ducts. It gives the breasts their size and shape.
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What Can You Do To Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but there are ways you can achieve an overall healthy lifestyle in mind, body and spirit to decrease your breast cancer risk factors.
- Eat balanced meals with many fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water
- Support bone health through physical activity and appropriate intake of vitamin D and calcium
- Limit your alcohol use to no more than one glass a day
- Get enough rest
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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When To Examine Your Breasts
You don’t need to examine your breasts every day or even every week. But it is important to know how your breasts normally feel, and how that changes with your periods.
Some women have lumpier breasts around the time of a period. If this is the same in both breasts, don’t worry. But check your breasts again the following month, a few days after your period is over.
If the lumpiness comes and goes with your menstrual cycle, it is nothing to worry about.
Your breasts usually feel softer and not as lumpy if you no longer have periods.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
You find a new lump and it doesnt feel like the rest of your breast. What should you do?
Lumps in your breasts are fairly common but can be frightening. If a new lump appears, it is better to be safe than sorry. All breast lumps need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider, regardless of your age or where in your breast you feel the lump.;
If you have a history of cysts, mastitis, or fibrosis, you may feel compelled to take a wait-and-see approach, but the following changes to your lump may be particularly concerning and should prompt you to see a healthcare provider:;
- Changes in the skin over the lump
- Nipple changes, including enlargement or bloody discharge
- Changes in the size of the lump
The earlier you catch breast cancer, the more likely you are to beat it, but Black women are more likely to have delays in diagnosis and present with advanced disease for many reasons that are simply out of their control, like unequal medical treatment and access.
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What Should I Be Looking For
Aside from finding a noticeable lump, breast cancer can have a number of different symptoms.
The NHS suggests seeing your GP is 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 your skin, such as puckering or dimpling;
- a new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side;
- nipple discharge that’s not milky;
- bleeding from your nipple;
How To Handle The Warning Signs
Having any of these signs or symptoms does not mean you have breast cancer. Cysts, infections and other non-cancerous breast conditions also may cause symptoms.
However, do call your doctor right away if you have symptoms or any time you notice unusual changes in how your breasts look or feel. Dont wait and see if the changes go away. Its important to find out what is causing these changes. If you do have breast cancer, early detection can make treatment easier and more successful.
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It’s Usually Found On A Mammogram
For most women, DCIS is picked up on routine mammograms. “Typically, the mammogram finds a calcificationa small cluster of cells with abnormal shapes and sizesand then it is diagnosed after a biopsy,” says Dr. Meyers.
Occasionally, though, DCIS grows large enough that it forms a noticeable lump. Some people with DCIS may also have unusual nipple discharge, or a condition called Paget’s disease that causes skin around the nipple to become thick and dry.
Breast Cancer: Symptoms And Signs
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.
The majority of women with breast cancer do not have any body changes or symptoms when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer.
The following signs and symptoms should be discussed with a doctor. Many times, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.
A lump that feels like a hard knot or a thickening in the breast or under the arm. It is important to feel the same area in the other breast to make sure the change is not a part of healthy breast tissue in that area.
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Nipple discharge that occurs suddenly, is bloody, or occurs in only 1 breast
Physical changes, such as a nipple turned inward or a sore located in the nipple area
Skin irritation or changes, such as puckering, dimpling, scaliness, or new creases
A warm, red, swollen breast with or without a rash with dimpling resembling the skin of an orange, called peau d’orange
Pain in the breast, particularly breast pain that does not go away. Pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer, but it should be reported to a doctor.
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