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How To Detect Breast Cancer

Changes In The Surface Of The Skin

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Are your boobs a little bit swollen? Are you experiencing redness or both, perhaps? One of the first signs of breast cancer is swelling and redness, so its important to flag any of these changes to your healthcare provider.

Its also important to check for puckering, dimpling or a rash. Some women often find that they have a rash or redness of the nipple and surrounding skin. The skin might look like orange peel and the texture can often feel different. This is one of the more physical symptoms of the disease.

Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening

Many studies have shown that ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging can help supplement mammography by detecting breast cancers that may not be visible with mammography. Neither MRI nor ultrasound is meant to replace mammography. Rather, they are used in conjunction with mammography in selected women. Women should consult with their referring doctor or radiologist to determine if MRI or ultrasound screening is appropriate for them.

  • MRI of the breast may be used for women at high risk for breast cancer, typically because of a strong family history of the disease.
  • Ultrasound of the breast may be used for women who are at high risk for breast cancer and unable to undergo an MRI examination or women who are pregnant and should not be exposed to x-rays used in mammography. Ultrasound of the breast can also be used to screen women who have dense breast tissue, meaning there are a lot of ducts, glands, fibrous tissue and less fat making it harder to find cancers with traditional mammography.

What Is Breast Cancer Screening

Screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin. The goal of screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. In order to be widely accepted and recommended by medical practitioners, a screening program must meet a number of criteria, including reducing the number of deaths from the given disease.

Screening tests may include laboratory tests to check blood and other fluids, genetic tests that look for inherited genetic markers linked to disease, and imaging tests that produce pictures of the inside of the body. These tests are typically available to the general population however, an individual’s needs for a specific screening test are based on factors such as age, gender and family history.

In breast cancer screening, a woman who has no signs or symptoms of breast cancer undergoes a breast examination such as:

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Importance Of Early Detection

Prompt detection of breast cancer is important to find breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage. This may be before the person has any noticeable symptoms, so regular screening may be the most important tool for this early detection.

One notes that breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer among women worldwide. Screening can help reduce this risk.

Research from 2016 notes that standard procedures for breast cancer screening can lead to a roughly in deaths from breast cancer.

The also notes that increasing screening practices for eligible people could:

  • increase life expectancy

How Does Breast Cancer Start

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Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different . Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.

Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

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An Increase In Size Or A Change In Shape Of The Breast

Its natural for women to have one breast thats a little bit bigger than the other. In fact, very few women have perfect, asymmetrical breasts. Youre not alone, girls, its totally normal…most of the time.However, if you spot something that looks a little bit odd, its important that you dont leave it. Breast cancer can often cause your breast, or breasts, to look bigger than usual or they might feel different. Many healthy women of reproductive age find that their breasts are lumpy and more tender just before their period. A change in size or shape that doesnt fall in line with your menstrual period is one of the first signs of breast cancer, so dont ignore it, ladies.

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Some of the symptoms include:

  • A lump or abnormality in the shape or feel of the breast
  • A lump in the underarm area
  • A generalized swelling of all or a part of the breast
  • An irritation or dimpling of the skin on the breast
  • Nipple retraction
  • Rash, redness or scaliness on the nipple or breast skin
  • Spontaneous discharge from the nipple

Please consult your doctor if you are unsure about a symptom.

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Diagnosis Of Benign Breast Conditions

The tests and procedures used to diagnose a benign breast condition are often the same as those used to diagnose breast cancer. The goals of diagnosis are to:

  • make sure that the growth or other change detected is really benign
  • determine whether the condition is associated with any increase in cancer risk

Procedures could include:

Your testing plan will depend on your symptoms and what type of benign breast condition is suspected. Your doctor might not be able to tell you much until the test results come back. Waiting is hard, but remember that benign conditions are more common than breast cancer.

In most cases, todays imaging techniques are advanced enough to tell the difference between a benign breast condition and cancer, notes Alan Stolier, M.D., a surgical breast oncologist with St. Charles Surgical Hospital and the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans. If anything about the imaging is suspicious, we will go a step further with biopsy, he says. If we dont recommend anything else be done, we have a high level of confidence it is benign.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms

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Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.

  • If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
  • If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
  • If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
  • If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
  • If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.

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Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

A risk factor is something that increases the likelihood of suffering from a particular disease. It should obviously be emphasized that having one or more risk factors does not necessarily mean that one will suffer from this disease.

It is simply an indicator that will allow us to place ourselves in a group in order to measure this risk. We can thus inform our attending physician who will then guide us as best as possible according to the analyzes. It is therefore important to know which group you belong to and what are the right actions to adopt based on this observation.

Risk factors can be divided into two groups: modifiable factors and non-modifiable factors. Although there is no proven direct relationship between modifiable factors and disease, some studies show that this relationship may still exist. Knowing these risk factors therefore allows us to make the required changes in our lifestyle.

Non-modifiable factors:

At What Age Should I Start Getting Mammograms

Because young women typically have dense breast tissue, a mammogram is not always the best diagnostic tool for them. For this reason, and because dense breasts also make it more difficult to feel a lump, it is crucial that women aged 20 and older become familiar with their breasts and learn how to spot any unusual changes. Current guidelines call for annual screening mammograms to begin at age 45 or 50. If you have a family history of the disease, consult your doctor about when you should start having mammograms and how frequently you should have them. For more information, read our position paper on the new mammography guidelines.

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Screening Recommendations For Breast Cancer

Detecting breast cancer early reduces the chance of death from breast cancer. Breast cancer is much easier to treat and has much better survival rates when caught in its early stages. Thats why getting regular screenings is an important part of womens healthcare.

According to the American Cancer Society, women at average risk for breast cancer should follow these screening guidelines:

are strongly encouraged to have an annual mammogram
over 55 are encouraged to have a mammogram every 2 years, but can choose to still have an annual mammogram

Women at an above average risk of breast cancer are strongly encouraged to have screenings more often and possibly begin earlier than age 40.

Screenings should include both mammograms and breast MRIs. Talk with a doctor about your individual risk factors and determine an appropriate screening plan for you.

First Understand The Early Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

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In the early stage of breast cancer, although the patient has no particularly obvious pain symptoms, the breasts will have paroxysmal tingling and dull pain. Patients often have symptoms of breast lumps, and they can feel hard, movable, broad bean-sized lumps inside the breast. If the patients breast lump adheres to the skin, the patients skin will have a more obvious sunken condition or accompanied by nipple discharge, the overflowing liquid is generally colorless, light yellow, and milky white liquid, so be more vigilant.

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How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed

Magnetic resonance imaging may be used to diagnose breast cancer.

Doctors often use additional tests to find or diagnose breast cancer. They may refer women to a breast specialist or a surgeon. This does not mean that she has cancer or that she needs surgery. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems.

  • Breast ultrasound. A machine that uses sound waves to make detailed pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.
  • Diagnostic mammogram. If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging . A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
  • Biopsy. This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies .

Can I Rely On Breast Self

Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but dont panic 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Benign Breast Conditions

There are many different types of benign breast conditions but they all cause unusual changes in breast tissue. Sometimes they affect the glandular tissue . Or they can involve the supportive tissue of the breast, also called stromal tissue.

A benign breast condition can lead to a distinct growth or lump that sometimes can be felt through the skin. Or it can be something unusual picked up on a screening mammogram.

If you have symptoms, theyre often similar to those associated with breast cancer, such as:

  • pain, swelling, and/or tenderness in the breast
  • a lump that can be felt through the skin or nipple
  • skin irritation
  • redness or scaling on the nipple and/or skin of the breast
  • nipple pain or retraction
  • discharge from the breast that is not milk

All of these symptoms require further testing to rule out breast cancer as a possible cause.

How To Detect Breast Cancer At An Early Stage

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From one individual to another, the warning signs and indications can change significantly, however, there are some regular signs which are:

  • Growth of all or part of a breast.
  • Lump on the inside of the chest or in the area of the armpits.
  • Skin alteration or dimples.
  • Change in the size and shape of the breasts.
  • Areola torment or chest torment.
  • Pain or rash in the areola.
  • Expansion, redness, or darkening of the breast.
  • Areola release that starts from nowhere.
  • Pulling inward of the areola or different parts of the chest.

If these signs or side effects occur, it does not actually imply that the malignancy is available. It can often be the consequence of generous breast conditions. Generous methods are not a disease and changes in the breast can be caused by factors such as adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause.

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Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Women should see their health provider once a year for an annual exam, which often includes a pap-smear, a routine pelvic exam, and a breast exam. Use this time to talk with your doctor about any health concerns, family history, and wellness options. If you notice any changes in your breasts, lumps, or other signs associated with breast cancer, you dont need to wait until your next annual exam. Make an appointment with your NWPC care provider as soon as you can.

Know That Your Breasts Change Over The Course Of Your Life And This Impacts What You Feel And See During Your Self Breast Exam

Hormones, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, breast feeding, menopause, age, and weight changes all impact how your breasts look and feel on self-exam. Monthly breast-exams put this in perspective and make you better at detecting important changes suspicious for breast cancer. During your pre-menopause years, experts recommend doing your exam towards the end of your menstral period when hormonal changes have less influence on breast tissue and the breasts are less tender. After menopause, or for men, choose a consistent day of the month.

Become familiar with your unique breast tissue by doing regular self-exams. Some people have lumpy fibrocystic breasts like I did. This makes self-exam harder, meaning you need more regular practice to discern whats new and changing. Breast tissue also changes during pregnancy and breast feeding obviously! You still need to do your monthly, self breast-exams during these times because breast cancer can happen then, too.

Remember, breast cancer is common.

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What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer You Can Detect Yourself

  • A lump or firmness that you can feel in your breast or your armpit, especially if it is new or changing. Breast cancer can be hard or not. It can hurt or not. Any change needs to be shared with your doctor.
  • Nipple changes. If your nipples turn inward or start to leak a discharge unexpectedly, share that with your doctor. Everyones nipples look and feel different, but change needs to be taken seriously.
  • Skin changes. For example, changes such as redness, scale or itch, dimpling, or puckering can indicate cancer in the tissue below that causes changes in the skin.

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Catching breast cancer early can save your life, even is you have really aggressive cancer like I did.

Im five years cancer-free this year. High-grade triple-negative cancer is so aggressive that making it five years without signs of recurrence wins me the cured proclamation from my oncology team. I know that if I had slacked on my monthly breast exam, my chances of cure would have been much different. I actually ended up with a cancer in both breasts and was found to carry a BRCA 1 gene mutation. That monthly breast exam probably saved me from ovarian cancer, too.

Please do your monthly breast exam, and encourage those you know and love to do theirs, too even the men in your life.

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Correct Use Of Bras To Protect Breasts

Some people think that wearing a bra can cause breast cancer, but in fact, evidence-based medicine proves that there is no relationship between the two. Breasts and bras are a pair of good girlfriends. Correct use of bras can not only shape the body, but also protect the breasts and reduce breast diseases. If you wear an inappropriate bra, it will compress your breasts, affect breast lymphatic return and blood circulation, and cause gland hyperplasia.

The size of the bra should be such that it can hold and protect the breast without obstructing the blood flow of the breast. Generally, you need to measure your bust once a year, or re-measure when your weight changes, and change your bra size in time. Different types of bras should also be prepared before and after menstruation.

The bra color is best to choose natural or light colors, as far as possible not to buy dark colors. Dark underwear has many dyes, which may fall off and be absorbed by human skin after being contaminated with sweat, which may cause skin discomfort.

The fabric should be considered from the aspects of softness, sweat absorption, breathability, comfort, stability, etc. Silk is the best, with almost zero damage to the skin. Cotton is also excellent, keeps warm in winter, absorbs sweat in summer, and has unique softness and naturalness.

It is advisable to wear a bra for no more than 8 hours a day. Sleep time at night should be free of restraints, and breasts should be free.


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