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.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
Talking With Children 7
In this age group it helps to try to find out how much children already know about cancer so that you can correct any misunderstandings, for example that everyone who has cancer will die. Even if you dont like using the word cancer your children or their friends will probably know the word anyway from other people or from the television or the internet. They may understand more about it than you realise. They might know that there are different types of cancer and that people can recover from it.
A good place to start with children of this age is to tell them whats happened and what you and the doctors are going to do about it. You can ask them what they want to know about your diagnosis or treatment and when they want to talk .
Most children study the human body at primary school and will have some basic ideas about cells and the different parts of the body. You may want to look at some factual information with them or read a suitable story. Talk to them about your feelings and encourage them to talk about theirs too.
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Previous Breast Cancer Or Lump
If you have previously had breast cancer or early non-invasive cancer cell changes in breast ducts, you have a higher risk of developing it again, either in your other breast or in the same breast.
A benign breast lump does not mean you have breast cancer, but certain types of breast lumps may slightly increase your risk of developing cancer.
Some benign changes in your breast tissue, such as cells growing abnormally in ducts , or abnormal cells inside your breast lobes , can make getting breast cancer more likely.
Changes In The Nipples
Nipple changes are another sign of breast cancer. This can vary from changes in the appearance of the nipple to abnormal secretions. Breast cancer may result in inversion of the nipples. This is where the nipple points inwards instead of outwards. Inverted nipples may occur naturally in some women and this is not abnormal. However, when there is a sudden retraction of the nipples then breast cancer is a possible cause.
Discharge from the nipples can vary from clear fluid to milky white even when the latter is not due to breastmilk production related to pregnacy and childbirth. Usually the fluid is secreted when the breast is physically stimulated. However, in breast cancer there can be spontaneous nipple discharge meaning that the secretion is expelled on its own. The sign of blood in the secretion is always a cause for concern and may be due to breast cancer.
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How Can I Protect Myself From Breast Cancer
Follow these three steps for early detection:
- Get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40. Mammograms are an important part of your health history. Recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force came out with new recommendations regarding when and how often one should have mammograms. These include starting at age 50 and having them every two years. We do not agree with this, but we are in agreement with the American Cancer Society and have not changed our guidelines, which recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
- Examine your breasts each month after age 20. You will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
- Have your breast examined by a healthcare provider at least once every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. Clinical breast exams can detect lumps that may not be detected by mammogram.
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Tests to find breast cancer
To find the cause of a breast change, your doctor will typically use an approach called the ‘triple test’, which includes:
- a medical history and clinical breast examination
- imaging tests, such as a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound
- a biopsy, which involves taking a sample of tissue cells from the breast and testing them for signs of cancer.
Most women dont show any abnormal results in these tests.
Staging and further tests
If breast cancer is confirmed, you will be referred for further tests, such as a CT scan, blood tests, bone scans or a PET scan, to see what stage your cancer is at.
Your healthcare team may use a 4 stage system:
- Stage 0 refers to pre-invasive breast cancer thats only in the milk ducts or lobules of the breast.
- Stage I to IIB refer to early breast cancer of a small size .
- Stage IIB to Stage IIIC cancers have spread to nearby lymph nodes in the breastbone or armpit.
- Stage IV cancer have spread to other parts of the body.
There may also be further tests for hormone receptors , HER-2 or other genetic markers. These tests help decide the best treatment for your type of breast cancer.
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How To Spot Breast Cancer Warning Signs
Modern mammography screening, and especially advanced breast cancer detection techniques such as 3-D digital mammography, ensures that most breast cancers that occur in the U.S. are now caught in early stages, when they are treated with very high success rates. Not all breast cancers are found through mammography, however. Being aware of your body and how it changes and understanding breast cancers typical warning signs will help you to protect yourself between screening mammograms.
If you have any of the symptoms described below, you should discuss them with your doctor.
In addition to being alert to these warning signs, you can protect yourself from breast cancer by exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, minimizing your exposure to carcinogens, and getting regular screening mammograms .
If you are new to screening mammograms and are wondering what to expect, check out our free eBook. Youll learn about breast cancer risk, how to prepare for your exam, what it means if you get a , low-dose 3-D mammography, and more.
The information contained in the Iowa Radiology website is presented as public service information only. It is not intended to be nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider if you think you may have a medical problem before starting any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding your medical condition.
Talking With Children Under Six About Breast Cancer
Very young children are unlikely to have very much knowledge about cancer, so you can decide how much or how little to tell them.
What you say to very young children about your breast cancer will depend on the words you normally use for breasts and feeling ill. Its best not to frighten them or overload them with information. For example, you may decide to tell them you have a bad lump in your breast and youre going to hospital to have it removed.
As well as talking, you may want to show them what is happening using dolls or teddies, or by drawing pictures. Storybooks can also help to explain things and prompt questions. Read through a book you want to use before sharing it with your children, to make sure it fits in with your circumstances.
You might like to share our book Mummys Lump with your children. Its a simple picture book aimed at children aged seven and under. It follows a family through the mums diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.
Most young children dont like changes to their routine or may worry about being separated from you. When you go into hospital they need to know that you will be back, and that they wont be left alone or with someone they dont know. They like to know details about their daily routine, such as who will be giving them their meals, taking them to nursery and putting them to bed.
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What Should I Tell Them
As well as your diagnosis, you may want to tell the school about any treatment planned and any change in practical arrangements. Be clear about what your children know. Its useful to tell the school the wording you use when talking with your children about your cancer, so they can follow this too.
Remember, you can share as much or as little as you choose. You dont need to tell the school staff everything you know, unless you want to.
Peeling Scaling Or Flaking Skin
Dont immediately be alarmed if you notice peeling, scaling, or flaking on your breasts or the skin around your nipples. This is a symptom of breast cancer, but it can also be a symptom of atopic dermatitis, eczema, or another skin condition.
After an exam, your doctor may run tests to rule out Pagets disease, which is a type of breast cancer affecting the nipples. It can also cause these symptoms.
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What Is Breast Cancer In Men
Both men and women have breast tissue. In men, most breast tissue is located behind the nipple. Women have a lot more breast tissue than men – and a much higher rate of breast cancer. Cancers can, however, occur in male breast tissue.
Breast cancer is uncommon in men. Around 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Australia, mostly over the age of 50. As our population ages, we are likely to see a gradual increase in the number of Australian men diagnosed with breast cancer each year. It is therefore increasingly important to provide information and support to affected men and their families.
‘my Dog Found My Cancer’
I had just been to the ob-gyn for my annual check-up and breast exam, and got the ‘all okay.’ Soon after, my little dog Zoe climbed up on me and started pawing at a specific part of my breast. Little alarms went off in my head, telling me to pay attention. It was like a slow-motion movie. I pushed her off and thats when I found a little round BB-sized lump. After a mammogram that didnt show anything, and a sonogram that found the lump, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Its so important to listen to the messages our bodies are telling us.
Christine Egan, author of The Healthy Girls Guide to Breast Cancer, Bayport, New York
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Other Causes Of Pain And Tenderness
We often associate pain with something wrong, so when people feel tenderness or pain in their breast, they often think of breast cancer. But breast pain is rarely the first noticeable symptom of breast cancer. Several other factors can cause the pain.
Clinically known as mastalgia, breast pain can also be caused by the following:
- the fluctuation of hormones caused by menstruation
When To Tell Them
Most women talk to their partner, close friends or relatives when they first notice something wrong, but may wait until later to tell their children. Some wait until tests have confirmed they have breast cancer or until they are soon to start treatment.
There are no set rules and it will depend on their age and how you usually talk with them about illness and other issues in the family. But the longer you leave telling them, the more likely it is your children will realise that something is wrong, and they may start worrying and guessing what it might be.
Talking with your children at a time when you feel vulnerable and emotional can be very difficult. You may worry that you will get upset and perhaps cry, but this can allow them to feel okay about showing their own worries and emotions. However, if you can appear calm and confident when you tell them about your cancer, even if you dont feel it inside, it may help your children feel less upset or panicky. Talk to them in a familiar setting where they feel comfortable, and where you are unlikely to be distracted or disturbed.
Its a good idea to keep talking with your children regularly about whats happening so they feel involved, informed and able to ask any questions. You may need to repeat explanations, especially to younger children.
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Reflecting Back On 2021 Do You Have Any End
I would like to give a shout out to all of the amazing clinical researchers and investigators and of course, patient volunteers who participated in studies over these past challenging 20 months. Going through getting a diagnosis of cancer at any time is certainly challenging and disruptive. But to be diagnosed with cancer and go through treatment during pandemic has been an immense challenge. Im just amazed to see all the progress weve made for our patients over this very challenging time.
Grade Of Breast Cancer
The grade describes the appearance of the cancer cells.
- Low grade the cells, although abnormal, appear to be growing slowly.
- Medium grade the cells look more abnormal than low-grade cells.
- High grade the cells look even more abnormal and are more likely to grow quickly.
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Men And Breast Cancer Warning Signs
Breast cancer isnt typically associated with people who were assigned male at birth. But male breast cancer can occur in rare instances at any age, although its more common in older men.
Many people dont realize that people assigned male at birth have breast tissue too, and those cells can undergo cancerous changes. Because male breast cells are much less developed than female breast cells, breast cancer isnt as common in this part of the population.
The most common symptom of breast cancer in people assigned male at birth is a lump in the breast tissue.
Other than a lump, symptoms of male breast cancer include:
- thickening of the breast tissue
- nipple discharge
- redness or scaling of the nipple
- a nipple that retracts or turns inward
- unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness, or rash on the breast
Most men dont regularly check their breast tissue for signs of lumps, so male breast cancer is often diagnosed much later.
Common causes of benign breast lumps include:
With fat necrosis, the mass cant be distinguished from a cancerous lump without a biopsy.
Even though the majority of breast lumps are caused by less severe conditions, new, painless lumps are still the most common symptom of breast cancer.
How To Spot Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. If you know what to look for, you can spot warning signs of skin cancer early. Finding it early, when its small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat.
Some doctors and other health care professionals include skin exams as part of routine health check-ups. Many doctors also recommend that you check your own skin about once a month. Look at your skin in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Use a hand-held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see.
Use the ABCDE rule to look for some of the common signs of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer:
AsymmetryOne part of a mole or birthmark doesnt match the other.
BorderThe edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
ColorThe color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
DiameterThe spot is larger than ¼ inch across about the size of a pencil eraser although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
EvolvingThe mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are more common than melanomas, but they are usually very treatable.
Both basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, or cancers, usually grow on parts of the body that get the most sun, such as the face, head, and neck. But they can show up anywhere.
Basal cell carcinomas: what to look for:
Squamous cell carcinomas: what to look for:
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