What Can I Expect At My Doctors Appointment
Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or gynecologist. Tell your doctor about the new spot youve identified and the symptoms you feel. Your doctor will likely conduct a full breast exam and may also check nearby spots, including your collarbone, neck, and armpit areas.
Based on what they feel, your doctor may order additional testing, such as a mammogram, ultrasound, or biopsy.
Your doctor may also suggest a period of watchful waiting. During this time, you and your doctor will continue to monitor the lump for any changes or growth. If theres any growth, your doctor should begin testing to rule out cancer.
Be honest with your doctor about your concerns. If your personal or family history puts you at a higher risk of having breast cancer, you may want to move forward with the appropriate diagnostic testing so you can know for sure if your breast lump is cancer or something else.
Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing breast cancer. Some risk factors cant be changed others may be reduced or even eliminated based on your lifestyle choices.
The most significant breast cancer risk factors include:
What Is Advanced Breast Cancer
Advanced breast cancer includes stage 3 and stage 4 breast cancer.
Metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Its still considered breast cancer. Even if the cancer cells are in your bones or lungs, theyre still breast cancer cells.
Locally advanced or stage 3 breast cancer has all the characteristics of advanced breast cancer. But locally advanced breast cancer doesnt affect far-away organs like your bones or lungs. Instead, it may affect nearby lymph nodes and surrounding tissue or skin.
Not everyone with advanced breast cancer will have the same symptoms, but some symptoms are more common.
Symptoms of advanced breast cancer can include:
- breast lump that you can either see or feel
- blood tests, including tumor markers which look for signs of tumors in your blood
- whole-body bone scan, with or without X-rays of certain bones
- MRI of spine or brain
- biopsy of any specific tissue or area
- removal of fluid from symptomatic areas to check for cancer cells, like a pleural tap that removes fluid from between the lung and chest wall
If your doctor recommends surgery in your treatment plan, they may also order a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which is done during surgery. This test can tell the doctor where your cancer is likely to spread.
One In Eight Women In The United States Will Develop Breast Cancer During Their Life One Way The Cancer Or A Mass Can Be Seen Is Through An Ultrasound
One of the main issues caused by covid-19 is excess death. When hospitals are filled up with covid-19 patients, and doctors cannot focus on other patients’ issues, there can be fatal consequences.
When looking at cancer screening and prevention, covid-19 has taken a toll on the ability of medical professionals to diagnose and treat cancer promptly. Many older Americans postponed annual screenings out of fear of contracting the virus, which could mean they are living with cancer and do not know it.
October is National #BreastCancerAwareness Month.Mammograms are the primary screening method for breast cancer. Talk to your doctor and schedule your annual mammogram.
One study that examined the screening and diagnosis rates of six cancers, including breast, lung, and liver, found that diagnosis dropped significantly compared to the pre-pandemic baseline. The study found that “the weekly average number of people diagnosed with these six cancers dropped by 46.4%. Specifically, breast cancer diagnoses dropped by 51.8% from 2,208 to 1,064.”
Cancer screenings done by women this year are down by 84%. Don’t use the pandemic as an excuse to forget about other important health initiatives. Join me in kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Mont as we #PaintNevadaPink and view my experience here
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell
Recommended Reading: What Is The Recurrence Rate Of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
What Does Inflammatory Breast Cancer Look Like
Inflammatory breast cancer has different symptoms. It presents itself in a way that can be confused with a breast infection. It will include a red, inflamed, thickening of the breast. It can appear bruised or puckered. The texture can look like the skin of an orange. Another common symptom is sores that look like the skin on your breast was burned welts, ridges or other scars can appear. Your nipple might become flat or inverted.
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.
Don’t Miss: What Is Adjuvant Therapy For Breast Cancer
What To Do If You Find A Lump
Dont panic if you think you feel a lump in your breast. Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign . There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.
Dont hesitate to call your doctor if youve noticed a lump or other breast change that is new and worrisome. This is especially true for changes that last more than one full menstrual cycle or seem to get bigger or more prominent in some way. If you menstruate, you may want to wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change disappears on its own before calling your doctor. The best healthcare provider to call would be one who knows you and has done a breast exam on you before for example, your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or a nurse practitioner who works with your gynecologist or primary care doctor.
Make sure you get answers. Its important that your doctor gives you an explanation of the cause of the lump or other breast change and, if necessary, a plan for monitoring it or treating it. If youre not comfortable with the advice of the first doctor you see, dont hesitate to get a second opinion.
What Are Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are small, rounded structures of about 1 mm to 25 mm that are found throughout the body.
The lymph nodes form part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system that protects the body from disease and infection. It contains a network of thin tubes called lymph vessels that are found throughout the body. These lymph vessels transport a clear fluid called lymph between the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes filter the lymph to trap or remove substances harmful to the body, such as bacteria or cancer cells. This helps to protect the body from disease or infection. The lymph then passes back to the blood.
The closest lymph nodes to the breast are those in the armpit, which are known as axillary nodes. The axillary nodes drain lymph from nearby tissues, including the breast. There are also lymph nodes under the breastbone and in the neck . The number of lymph nodes varies between different people. There are usually about 15-30 lymph nodes in the armpit.
Because the lymph vessels carry lymph away from the breast, in the case of breast cancer, cancer cells can enter the lymph vessels and begin to grow in the lymph nodes. The axillary nodes are often the first place of cancer spread outside the breast. Usually, surgery is used to remove one or more of the axillary nodes to help check for cancer spread. Cancer found in the lymph nodes affects the staging and treatment of breast cancer.
Also Check: What Age Does Breast Cancer Affect
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.
Breast Cancer Ultrasound Images
Next to heart disease, breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women all over the world. Although the exact cause of breast cancer is unclear, early detection and treatment saves lives and reduces cost. Fortunately, it is becoming easier to diagnose the disease through different technologies, with ultrasound imaging as one of the frequently used diagnostic tools.Here we show somebreast cancer ultrasound images and important facts for your information.
Recommended Reading: What Does Triple Negative Mean For Breast Cancer
How Is Breast Cancer Treated
If the tests find cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan to eradicate the breast cancer, to reduce the chance of cancer returning in the breast, as well as to reduce the chance of the cancer traveling to a location outside of the breast. Treatment generally follows within a few weeks after the diagnosis.
The type of treatment recommended will depend on the size and location of the tumor in the breast, the results of lab tests done on the cancer cells, and the stage, or extent, of the disease. Your doctor will usually consider your age and general health as well as your feelings about the treatment options.
Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her individual diagnosis.
Schedule Your Mammogram With Envision Imaging Or The Womens Center At Colorado Springs Imaging
If you or your doctor thinks you need a mammogram, the experienced technologists at Envision Imaging and The Womens Center at Colorado Springs Imaging are here to help.
With multiple locations around the United States, we aim to provide world-class diagnostic services and excellent patient care. We understand each persons concerns are unique and serious, and we ensure a pleasant experience without sacrificing the quality of care.
Don’t Miss: How To Donate To Breast Cancer Charity
What Causes Skin Dimpling
This may result in a lump that could be mistaken for a tumor. If the fat necrosis develops near the surface, it may make the skin surface look pitted or dimpled.
Fat necrosis isnt a precursor to cancer, but its symptoms still warrant evaluation. A needle biopsy of the lump can help confirm if its cancerous or not. Fat necrosis doesnt raise the risk of breast cancer.
Dimpled skin is a common sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which draws its name from an inflamed appearance. This form of cancer results in the blockage of lymph vessels in the skin.
These vessels transport lymph, a fluid that helps carry particles and excess fluid, from tissue throughout the body to the bloodstream. The lymph system also supports the bodys immune system.
Inflammatory breast cancer accounts for 1 to 5 percent of all diagnoses of breast cancers in the United States. This cancer tends to develop in the cells of the milk ducts. Inflammatory breast cancer is also more likely to appear in women younger than 60.
If your skin dimpling is caused by inflammatory breast cancer, you may have the following symptoms:
- The affected breast may swell and feel warm.
- The affected breast may be especially tender.
- You may feel pain in the affected breast.
- You may feel a burning sensation in the affected breast.
Reducing Your Risks For Breast Cancer
Women who breast-feed their children for the recommended length of time can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 25%. You can also reduce your risk by maintaining a low BMI and by getting exercise. You should also cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink. Birth control pills and some forms of hormone therapy after menopause can boost the odds. But the risk seems to go back to normal after you stop these medications. Good lifestyle choices can help survivors, too. Research says physical activity can lower the chances your cancer will return. And it’s a proven mood-booster, too.
Also Check: Can You Be An Organ Donor After Breast Cancer
Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
Breast Cancer Prevention: Breast Mri And Ultrasound
MRI is a technology that uses magnets and radio waves to create detailed, 3D images of the breast tissue. Before the test you may be injected with a contrast solution through an intravenous line in the arm. The contrast solution will allow potential cancerous breast tissue to show more clearly. Radiologists are able to see areas that could be cancerous because the contrast tends to be more concentrated in areas of cancer growth.
During a breast MRI the breasts are exposed as the patient lies flat on a padded platform with cushioned openings for the breasts. A breast coil surrounds each opening and works with the MRI unit to create the images. MRI imaging is a painless diagnostic tool. The test takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
Sometimes a breast ultrasound is ordered in addition to a mammogram. An ultrasound can demonstrate fluid-filled cysts that are not cancerous. Ultrasounds may also be recommended for routine screening tests in some women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. During a breast ultrasound a small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. Then, a probe is gently applied against the skin. You may be asked to hold your breath, briefly several times. The breast ultrasound takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer causes a number of signs and symptoms, most of which develop quickly , including:
- Swelling of the skin of the breast
- Redness involving more than one-third of the breast
- Pitting or thickening of the skin of the breast so that it may look and feel like an orange peel
- A retracted or inverted nipple
- One breast looking larger than the other because of swelling
- One breast feeling warmer and heavier than the other
- A breast that may be tender, painful or itchy
- Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arms or near the collarbone
Tenderness, redness, warmth, and itching are also common symptoms of a breast infection or inflammation, such as mastitis if youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Because these problems are much more common than IBC, your doctor might suspect infection at first as a cause and treat you with antibiotics.
This may be a good first step, but if your symptoms dont get better in 7 to 10 days, more tests need to be done to look for cancer. The possibility of IBC should be considered more strongly if you have these symptoms and are not pregnant or breastfeeding, or have been through menopause.
IBC grows and spreads quickly, so the cancer may have already spread to nearby lymph nodes by the time symptoms are noticed. This spread can cause swollen lymph nodes under your arm or above your collar bone. If the diagnosis is delayed, the cancer can spread to distant sites.
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCA® hospitals, located across the nation, our cancer experts are devoted to a single missiontreating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision. Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and coordinated by a registered oncology nurse, who helps track the various appointments, follow up on tests and answer questions that come up along the way. Your care team also may include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with advanced training in helping patients restore function and appearance. Fertility preservation and genetic testing are also available for qualifying patients who need them.
Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat different types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ to complex diseases such as triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancer. As part of our patient-centered care model, which is designed to help you keep strong during treatment, your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive therapies, such as naturopathic support, psychosocial support, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy and pain management. The entire team works together with a whole-person focus, which is at the heart of our centers dedication to personalized and comprehensive care.