Causes Of Breast Cancer
The exact causes of breast cancer aren’t fully understood. However, there are certain factors known to increase the risk of breast cancer.
These factors include:
- age the risk increases as you get older
- a family history of breast cancer
- a previous diagnosis of breast cancer
- a previous benign breast lump
- being tall, overweight or obese
Is There A Particular Time Of The Month I Should Do Breast Self
Women should do a breast self-exam once a month, every month. Women who are still menstruating should perform a breast self-exam after their period. Women who have stopped menstruating and those who have very irregular periods can pick a day each month. Choose a day that is consistent and easy to remember, like the first day of the month, the last day of the month or your favorite number.
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.
Read Also: Can Stage 1 Breast Cancer Be Cured
Why Should I Do Breast Self
Monthly breast self-exams can help you detect changes that may be signs of infection or breast cancer . When breast cancer is detected early, the chances for survival are much better.
Self-exams are important for breast health. But they should not replace exams and screening tests recommended by doctors. You should still see your primary care provider and/or gynecologist regularly.
Know What To Look For
I felt a lump, is a common phrase for those who have had a breast cancer diagnosis, but there are many others symptoms or warning signs to watch for:
- a new lump in your breast or underarm
- thickening or swelling of part of your breast
- irritation or dimpling of your breast skin
- redness or flaky skin in your nipple area or your breast
- pulling in of your nipple or pain in your nipple area
- nipple discharge other than breast milk
- any change in the size or the shape of your breast
- pain in any area of your breast
Recommended Reading: Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Prognosis
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 hasnât 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 isnât 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.
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCAÂ® 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.
You May Like: Mbc Metastatic Breast Cancer
What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
What Are The Symptoms
Inflammatory breast cancer can present in a number of ways. The symptoms are persistent and tend to develop relatively quickly . Heres what to watch for:
- Skin inflammation The skin of the breast can become warm and puffy and look like the peel of an orange .
- Nipple changes The nipple can become flat or inverted.
- Swelling One breast can significantly increase in size.
- Discoloration The skin of the breast can become very red or almost purple.
- Pain The breast can become tender.
Also Check: Youngest Age To Have Breast Cancer
What Does A Breast Lump Look Like After A Biopsy
This can make it seem like the breast lump is larger after the biopsy. Most often, this is nothing to worry about, and any bleeding, bruising, or swelling will go away over time. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how to care for the biopsy site and when you might need to contact them if youre having any issues.
How Often Should You Check For Breast Cancer
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.
Johns Hopkins Medical center states:Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.
Mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.
Don’t Miss: What Does Stage 1 Breast Cancer Look Like
Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
According to the NHS you should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:
It Can Be Scary To Find A Change That Doesnt Feel Or Look Normal But Its Important To Get Any Concerning Signs Checked Out By Your Gp Even If Youve Had A Mammogram Recently
Most breast changes arent caused by cancer but check with your doctor to be sure. If youve had a breast change checked out by your GP and they arent concerned but it continues to grow or change, its important to go back and have it checked again or seek a second opinion.
If youre not sure about talking to your GP, tell someone you trust, like a girlfriend or your mum. They can support you to see your GP. BCFNZ also has nurses available, who can give you free advice. Get in touch at 0800 226 8773
Read Also: Breast Cancer Advanced Stage Symptoms
What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
While different people have different symptoms of breast cancerand some dont have any at allwarning signs of breast cancer include new lumps in the breast and armpit, swelling of the breast, redness or pain in the nipple region, or change in the breast size.
Remember that some of these symptoms are associated with other conditions that arent cancer.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer rarely causes breast lumps and may not appear on a mammogram. Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, itchy breast that is tender to the touch
- The surface of the breast may take on a ridged or pitted appearance, similar to an orange peel
- Heaviness, burning, or aching in one breast
- One breast is visibly larger than the other
- Inverted nipple
- No mass is felt with a breast self-exam
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm and/or above the collarbone
- Symptoms unresolved after a course of antibiotics
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer usually does not cause a distinct lump in the breast. Therefore, a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer. Ultrasounds may also miss inflammatory breast cancer. However, the changes to the surface of the breast caused by inflammatory breast cancer can be seen with the naked eye.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer can develop rapidly, and the disease can progress quickly. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported to your doctor immediately.
For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, redness, swelling, itchiness and soreness are often signs of a breast infection such as mastitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. If you are not pregnant or nursing and you develop these symptoms, your doctor should test for inflammatory breast cancer.
Don’t Miss: Stage One Breast Cancer Symptoms
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.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
Read Also: Estrogen Responsive Breast Cancer
How Do I Care For Myself After A Breast Biopsy
Here are some guidelines on how to care for yourself at home after a breast biopsy: Activity: Avoid intense exercise or heavy lifting for the first week. Otherwise, usual activities are fine. Work: The surgery is a minor procedure, and you can resume most activities in one or two days. Ask your doctor about when you can return to work.
What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The following early signs and symptoms of breast cancer can happen with other conditions that are not cancer related.
- 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 of 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
Don’t Miss: Stage 3b Breast Cancer Prognosis
Mri Breast Cancer Screening May Be Beneficial For Some Higher Risk Groups
Sometimes MRI screening is useful for women who have a personal or familial history of breast cancer. MRI screening for women with a of breast cancer has proven to be clinically valuable, finding 12% more malignancies than traditional screening methods.
And, a high percentage of breast cancers that MRI scans find are at the DCIS or minimal breast cancer stage.
However, breast cancer MRI screening is not practical on a large scale. However, various focus groups conclude that the use of MRI in breast cancer screening may be useful for women who, for a variety of reasons, possess a 20% to 25% increased lifetime risk of breast cancer development.
There does seem to be agreement that women:-
- who have had prior treatments for Hodgkin disease
- with a family history of either ovarian or breast cancer,
be included in this higher-risk, MRI-recommended group.
However, there is insufficient convincing evidence and no consensus that other high risk women, for example, those with dense breast tissue and even women with atypical hyperplasia, require MRI screening.
How Do I Perform A Breast Self
Begin by standing in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts with your hands above your head, with your arms down at your side and your chest muscles flexed. Look for any changes in the skin or size of your breasts. Next, feel each breast while standing in the shower. Raise one arm and use soapy fingers of the other hand to feel your breasts. Use your fingertips to feel all of the breast tissue and the areas under your arms . After your shower, feel each breast while lying down on a bed with a pillow under your shoulder. One arm should be raised over your head, and the other arm should reach across to feel the entire breast.
Finding a change in your breast can be scary, but most breast changes are not cancer. Many women have painful swelling in their breasts at the time of their menstrual periods. It is important to do your breast self-exam a few days after the end of your period when this swelling has gone away.
Read Also: What Happens If You Get Hit On Your Breast
How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed
If IBC is suspected because of skin inflammation, nipple changes, or other IBC symptoms, breast imaging like mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI will be necessary. If an abnormality is identified with breast imaging, then a needle biopsy will be performed. In a needle biopsy, a thin, hollow needle is used to extract a sample that can be examined under a microscope. If an abnormality is not identified with breast imaging, then a punch biopsy of the skin can be performed. During a punch biopsy, a special tool that looks kind of like a miniature cookie cutter is used to take a sample of all the layers of skin. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area before the procedure so you wont feel pain during the biopsy.
Because IBC can be difficult to diagnose and because it is typically a more aggressive form of breast cancer, the cancer may have spread outside of the breast by the time it is found. Staging studies can be performed to look for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
These 9 Signs Of Breast Cancer Are Now Being Shared On Twitter And Many People Are Raising Awareness On The Debilitating Illness
Perhaps the most recognized symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. While many women go to the doctor after finding a lump, every woman should also be aware of other changes to the breast or nipple that could indicate the presence of this debilitating illness. If detected in its early stage, breast cancer can be cured more easily.
Nipple discharge may be one of the signs of breast cancer however, its normal for people who are breastfeeding to have a milky discharge from the nipples. In some cases, nipple discharge can be cancerous, and a person should seek medical care if they observe a thin or thick type of discharge that can vary in color from milky, to yellow, green, and red.
Other possible reasons for nipple discharge may be: breast infections, side effects of birth control and certain medications, certain medical conditions like thyroid disease, and variations in body physiology.
On some occasions, skin dimpling can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer because cancer cells cause a buildup of lymph fluid in the breast which leads to swelling, dimpling, or pitted skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.
Unusual breast or nipple pain are among the symptoms of invasive breast cancer, and a person should seek medical advice.
If a person hasnt experienced a recent trauma to the breast but notices obvious changes to the color of breast skin, they should seek medical care immediately.
Read Also: Define Stage 3 Cancer