How Long Can You Have Breast Cancer Without Knowing
Breast cancer must divide 30 times before it can be felt, and neither you nor your doctor can detect it until the 28th cell division. Because most breast cancers take one to two months to divide, by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has already been in your body for two to five years.
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Hi, I just saw your post and was wondering how you are doing. I was just diagnosed this week and i am going thru the same feelings. My biopsy w lymph node had it too. Now every little pain i feel i panic thinking its cancer spreading. I have an apt w dr tomorrow. Stay strong! Hope you have more news and are starting a treatment plan.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cancer Pain
There are different types of pain associated with cancer. The type of pain you experience can vary depending on the type of cancer you have and the specific way it affects your body. Bone pain is the most common type of discomfort associated with cancer. This happens when a tumor either grows into the bones or starts pressing against them. This is a deep, aching pain and is usually chronic.
Burning pain is also common for those with cancer. In some cases the tumor may be pressing on a nerve, causing a constant burning pain. Other times nerve damage due to surgery or chemotherapy causes this pain. If you had an area of your body removed due to cancer, such as a mastectomy for those with breast cancer, you may experience phantom pain. Phantom pain happens when nerve endings still send pain signals, even though the body part is gone.
Its important to be able to articulate the type of pain that youre feeling to your doctor in order to get the best treatment available. Here are some important terms to know:
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Genetics Might Play A Role
Genetics might play a role in why some people are affected or not affected by implants. It is observed that many people with BII symptoms carry certain genetics such as MTHFR, HLA-B27, HLA-DR52 and HLA-DR53 placing them at greater risk of developing breast implant illness. It is a good idea to look into genetic testing if you are planning to undergo breast augmentation. But my advice is dont do the implant surgery. I do, however, recommend considering explant surgery if you presently have implants.
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What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like
In general, cancerous breast lumps tend to be more irregular in shape. They may also feel firm or solid, and might be fixed to the tissue in the breast. They are also often painless. However, in a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.
Breast cancer lumps can vary in size. Typically, a lump has to be about one centimeter before a person can feel it however, it depends on where the lump arises in the breast, how big the breast is, and how deep the lesion is.
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Breast Changes Of Concern
Some breast changes can be felt by a woman or her health care provider, but most can be detected only during an imaging procedure such as a mammogram, MRI, or ultrasound. Whether a breast change was found by your doctor or you noticed a change, its important to follow up with your doctor to have the change checked and properly diagnosed.
Check with your health care provider if your breast looks or feels different, or if you notice one of these symptoms:
- Lump or firm feeling in your breast or under your arm. Lumps come in different shapes and sizes. Normal breast tissue can sometimes feel lumpy. Doing breast self-exams can help you learn how your breasts normally feel and make it easier to notice and find any changes, but breast self-exams are not a substitute for mammograms.
- Nipple changes or discharge. Nipple discharge may be different colors or textures. It can be caused by birth control pills, some medicines, and infections. But because it can also be a sign of cancer, it should always be checked.
- Skin that is itchy, red, scaled, dimpled or puckered
Symptoms For Specific Types Of Cancer
Each form of breast cancer develops in a different part of the breast and can affect different types of tissue.
Since many breast cancers cause no symptoms, people should attend regular screenings. This can help identify the disease in its early stages.
Below, we outline the types of breast cancer and their symptoms.
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Appearance On An Ultrasound
Breast ultrasound can detect some lumps that a mammogram cannot. It is also used to help diagnose masses found on a mammogram.
Ultrasound can help tell the difference between fluid-filled cysts, which aren’t likely to be cancerous, and hard cysts that need further testing. Hard cysts are more likely to be cancerous.
On an ultrasound report, the term “hypoechoic” refers to an area that appears darker in the images. This means the area is solid.
Does A Benign Breast Condition Mean That I Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer
Benign breast conditions rarely increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women have biopsies that show a condition called hyperplasia . This condition increases your risk only slightly.
When the biopsy shows hyperplasia and abnormal cells, which is a condition called atypical hyperplasia, your risk of breast cancer increases somewhat more. Atypical hyperplasia occurs in about 5% of benign breast biopsies.
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What Do Breast Cancer Lumps Feel Like
Lumps in the breasts can be a serious concern, and people who perform regular self-exams often wonder exactly what breast cancer lumps feel like and how to tell them apart from non-cancerous, or benign, lumps. Breast cancer lumps are usually very hard and are often irregularly shaped. In the early stages, they may be about the same size as a pea, and can feel dimpled, much like the surface of a golf ball. Often, a cancerous lump cannot be moved around in the breast, and pressing on the area doesn’t usually cause discomfort.
Another potential indicator that a lump is a cancerous is when the skin becomes dimpled or puckered right above it. If the lump is in the nipple, the nipple could become inverted any lump accompanied by pink or bloody discharge may also be a cause for concern. Bruises on the breasts that appear suddenly can be a symptom of breast cancer, as well. Cancerous lumps may be found both near the surface of the breast and deeper inside, closer to the chest wall. They may also occur in the armpit area.
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How Breast Cancer Pain May Feel
While many types of breast pain are not cancerous, pain in only one breast may be cause for calling your doctor. Benign breast pain is often on both sides.
Breast cancer pain can be persistent and very specific, usually hurting in just one spot. It is important to remember that breast cancer can be present in your breast before it causes pain. If you have other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple retraction , sudden swelling of your breast, or sudden skin changes, consult your healthcare provider for a clinical breast exam.
‘it Felt Like There Was A Marble In My Breast’
I had fibrous breasts, so even on a good day, my breasts felt like a bag of frozen peas. I had been receiving Bright Pinks Breast Health reminder texts to check my breasts, so I was pretty familiar with how my breasts felt. However one day I felt a lump in my left breast near my nipple, which seemed to be the size of a marble or gumball. This lump felt different. It was hard, but had a bit of a give to it.
“From the moment I felt the lump, I knew I had breast cancer. I went in that day for an appointment with my gynecologist, who ordered a mammogram for later that afternoon. After that, I had a core needle biopsy, but the tests all came back negative. I never felt relieved or satisfied with that result.
“At a later breast check, I felt the lump had grown, so I insisted my gynecologist help me find a surgeon to remove the lump. It was removed and I was told it was stage 2, aggressive triple negative breast cancer. I also discovered I was BRCA-1 positive, meaning I had the breast cancer gene. I cant stress it enough, listen to your body!
Erin Scheithe, DC Education Ambassador for Bright Pink, Washington, D.C.
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Breast Cancer And Your Sexuality
Having breast cancer and its treatment can affect the way you feel about your body, who you are, your relationships, the way you express yourself sexually and your sexual feelings . These changes can be very upsetting.
Your medical team should discuss these issues with you before and during your treatment. If you feel you would like to discuss things further, ask your doctor for a referral to a counsellor or speak to a cancer nurse on the Cancer Council Information and Support Service . The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Sexuality, intimacy and cancer may also be helpful to read.
Cancer Council Victoria also provides cancer patients with a psychosexual counselling service, for those with concerns about body image, intimacy, sexual confidence or relationships after cancer. The free sessions are held with an experienced medical practitioner with a speciality in psychosexual oncology.
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What Does A Breast Cancer Lump Feel Like
Breast cancer often presents itself when a woman notices something out of the ordinary in her breast, a lump that feels different from the feeling of surrounding tissues and structures or a change, something new and different that was not felt before. That is why it is important to know what your breasts normally feel like so that you will notice a difference that persists.
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Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally
All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.
Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.
Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, itâs really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.
In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.
How Fertility Might Be Affected
For women: Talk to your cancer care team about how radiation might affect your fertility . Its best to do this before starting treatment so you are aware of possible risks to your fertility.
Depending on the radiation dose, women getting radiation therapy in the pelvic area sometimes stop having menstrual periods and have other symptoms of menopause. Report these symptoms to your cancer care and ask them how to relieve these side effects.Sometimes menstrual periods will return when radiation therapy is over, but sometimes they do not.
See Fertility and Women With Cancer to learn more.
For men: Radiation therapy to an area that includes the testicles can reduce both the number of sperm and their ability to function. If you want to father a child in the future and are concerned about reduced fertility, talk to your cancer care team before starting treatment. One option may be to bank your sperm ahead of time.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
Signs and symptoms are ways the body lets you know that you have an injury, illness, or disease.
- A sign, such as fever or bleeding, can be seen or measured by someone else.
- A symptom, such as pain or fatigue, is felt or noticed by the person who has it.
Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread , signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.
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Signs Of Cancerous Masses
Cancerous masses in the breast are often very firm, like a rock. They have an irregular shape and size. They can be mobile but are often fixed, meaning they feel like they are attached to the skin or nearby tissue. You can’t really move them around by pushing on them. They’re also not likely to be painful, though they can be in some cases.
On exam, other changes may be present as well. These changes may include:
- Dimpling of the skin, with a texture like orange peel
- Nipple retraction, where the nipple turns inward instead of outward
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
One type of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, does not usually cause a lump. Instead, you may see redness, swelling, and sometimes a rash on the skin of the breast.
Cancer Treatments Linked To Dizziness
Some types of chemotherapy may cause dizziness. Drug-related dizziness may go away after you have taken the drug for a few days or weeks. Tell your health care team about the dizziness and any other symptoms you have during chemotherapy. Today, many medications are available to treat the side effects from chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy to the brain, spine, or other parts of the body related to the nervous system can also cause dizziness.
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