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How To Tell If Breast Cancer

Your Breast Is Changing Colors

How to Check for the Signs of Male Breast Cancer | Lorraine

Another symptom of inflammatory breast cancer is when your breast skin turns pink or reddish on more than half the breastsomething that can be hard to tell in those with darker skin tones. “Sometimes these changes in coloration can be difficult to find in African Americans and in obese patients with very large breasts,” Ricardo H. Alvarez, MD, leads the Breast Cancer Center Institute at Cancer Treatment Centers of America , said on the CTCA website. And for harmful habits you should be aware of, check out 30 Things You Had No Idea Could Cause Cancer.

Breast Cancer Types And Symptoms

There are several kinds of breast cancer. Many of them share symptoms.

Symptoms of ductal carcinoma

This is the most common type of breast cancer. It begins in your ducts. About 1 in 5 new breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ . This means you have cancer in the cells that line your ducts, but it hasnât spread into nearby tissue.

You may not notice any symptoms of ductal carcinoma. It can also cause a breast lump or bloody discharge.

Symptoms of lobular carcinoma

This kind begins in the glands that make milk, called lobules. Itâs the second most common type of breast cancer. Symptoms include:

  • Fullness, thickening, or swelling in one area
  • Nipples that are flat or point inward

Symptoms of invasive breast cancer

Breast cancer thatâs spread from where it began into the tissues around it is called invasive or infiltrating. You may notice:

  • A lump in your breast or armpit. You might not be able to move it separately from your skin or move it at all.
  • One breast that looks different from the other
  • A rash or skin thatâs thick, red, or dimpled like an orange
  • Skin sores
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer

Breast cancer is called triple-negative if it doesnât have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and doesnât make a lot of a protein called HER2. This kind tends to grow and spread faster than other types, and doctors treat it differently.

Symptoms of male breast cancer

  • A small, hard cyst

Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer

The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.

The most common signs are:

  • A change in the look or feel of the breast OR
  • A change in the look or feel of the nipple OR
  • Nipple discharge

If you have any of the warning signs described below, see a health care provider .

If you dont have a provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend.

If thats not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital. If you have insurance, your insurance company may also have a list of providers in your area.

Learn more about finding a health care provider.

In most cases, these changes are not cancer.

One example is breast pain. Pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer, but the only way to know for sure is to get it checked.

If the change turns out to be breast cancer, its best to find it at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.

Read Also: How Do Doctors Treat Breast Cancer

A Lump In Your Breast

A lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Lumps are often hard and painless, although some are painful. However, not all lumps are cancer. Benign breast conditions that can also cause lumps.

Still, its important to have your doctor check out any new lump or mass right away. If it does turn out to be cancer, the sooner its diagnosed the better.

A Change In Your Breast May Be An Early Sign Of Breast Cancer Heres What To Look For

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer affects approximately one in eight women in their lifetime. But today, breast cancer is becoming more and more treatable especially when its caught early.

There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for, says Mona Duncan, MD, general surgeon at Geisinger. Thats why its so important to go for your regular checkups and mammograms, and to perform monthly breast self-exams at home.Learn how to perform a breast self-exam.

Recommended Reading: Do You Gain Weight With Breast Cancer

Signs Of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Despite initial treatment and success, breast cancer can sometimes come back. This is called recurrence. Recurrence happens when a small number of cells escape the initial treatment.

Symptoms of a recurrence in the same place as the first breast cancer are very similar to symptoms of the first breast cancer. They include:

  • a new breast lump
  • redness or swelling of the breast
  • a new thickening near the mastectomy scar

If breast cancer comes back regionally, it means that the cancer has returned to the lymph nodes or near to the original cancer but not exactly the same place. The symptoms may be slightly different.

Symptoms of a regional recurrence may include:

  • lumps in your lymph nodes or near the collarbone
  • chest pain
  • pain or loss of sensation in your arm or shoulder
  • swelling in your arm on the same side as the original breast cancer

If youve had a mastectomy or other surgery related to breast cancer, you might get lumps or bumps caused by scar tissue in the reconstructed breast. This isnt cancer, but you should let your doctor know about them so they can be monitored.

As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are major factors in determining the outcome. Breast cancer is easily treated and usually curable when detected in the earliest of stages.

The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk with your doctor about when you should start scheduling regular mammograms.

What Causes Breast Cancer

Breast cancer happens when there are changes in the genetic material . Often, the exact cause of these genetic changes is unknown.

But sometimes these genetic changes are inherited, meaning that you are born with them. Breast cancer that is caused by inherited genetic changes is called hereditary breast cancer.

There are also certain genetic changes that can raise your risk of breast cancer, including changes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two changes also raise your risk of ovarian and other cancers.

Besides genetics, your lifestyle and the environment can affect your risk of breast cancer.

Read Also: Did Anne Hathaway Have Breast Cancer

Questions To Ask The Doctor

  • Do you know the stage of the cancer?
  • If not, how and when will you find out the stage of the cancer?
  • Would you explain to me what the stage means in my case?
  • Based on the stage of the cancer, how long do you think Ill live?
  • Do you know if my cancer has any of these proteins: estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, or the HER2 protein?
  • What does it mean if my cancer has any of these proteins?
  • What will happen next?

There are many ways to treat breast cancer.

Surgery and radiation are used to treat cancer in a specific part of the body . They do not affect the rest of the body.

Chemotherapy, hormone treatment, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy drugs go through the whole body. They can reach cancer cells almost anywhere in the body.

Doctors often use more than one treatment for breast cancer. The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:

  • The cancer’s stage and grade
  • If the cancer has specific proteins, like the HER2 protein or hormone receptors
  • The chance that a type of treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
  • Your age
  • Other health problems you have
  • Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that come with it

What Research Is Being Done On Breast Cancer Is It Worthwhile To Participate In A Breast Cancer Clinical Trial

How to tell your kids you have breast cancer

Without research and clinical trials, there would be no progress in our treatment of cancers.

Research can take many forms, including research directly on cancer cells or using animals.

Research that a patient can be involved in is referred to as a clinical trial. In clinical trials, different treatment regimens are compared for side effects and outcomes, including long-term survival. Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.

Whether one should participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision and should be based upon a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the trial. One should discuss the trial with a health care team and ask how this trial might be different from the treatment one would usually receive.

Someone should never be forced to participate in a clinical trial or be involved in a trial without full understanding of the trial and a written and signed consent.

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What Are Therapies For Her2

Your health care team needs to evaluate all therapy and provide guidance in response to all test results available and the specific circumstances of your cancer.

There are targeted therapies for HER2-positive breast cancers a number of drugs are available to target this protein:

  • Trastuzumab : a monoclonal antibody given by itself or with chemotherapy to treat HER2-positive breast cancers

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.

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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Most breast lumps aren’t cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor. You should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge from either of your nipples
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain alone isn’t a symptom of breast cancer.

Learn more about the symptoms of breast cancer

After examining your breasts, your GP may refer you to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests. This might include a mammography or a biopsy.

Read more about breast screening and how breast cancer is diagnosed

Men And Breast Cancer Warning Signs

Women Must Stop Ignoring These 5 Signs Of Breast Cancer ...

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.

Recommended Reading: Can Stage 1 Breast Cancer Be Cured

How To Tell If Your Cancer Is Back

According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, around one in five breast cancer survivors who have had five years of adjuvant therapy have a recurrence within 10 years of treatment.

Areas of recurrenceA recurrence of breast cancer can happen in the same place that the disease originally occurred or in other places if the cancer has metastasized. Breastcancer.org states that the most common areas for a possible recurrence of breast cancer include:

Local recurrence

  • The breast or place where the breast was previously
  • The chest
  • In or on the bones
  • On or near the lungs
  • The liver
  • The brain

Even though the term “breast cancer” makes it seem like this disease can only take place in the breasts, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. If you had breast cancer previously and have developed cancer in a different area of your body, it is likely to be another growth of the original cancer, not a different kind.

Signs of recurrenceThe first two years after a patient is treated for breast cancer are the most critical time when it comes to cancer recurrence. Your original cancer diagnosis greatly affects the likelihood that the disease will come back. If you experience any of these signs, go to your doctor immediately:

  • A new lump or irregular firmness in the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Redness or inflammation of the skin on a previously cancerous breast
  • Nodules on your chest wall
  • Thickening of the skin? on or close to a mastectomy scar

What To Do If You Spot A Possible Sign Of Breast Cancer

Dont panic. If you notice a change in your breast, it doesnt necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Some of these changes may be a result of benign, or non-cancerous, breast conditions, explains Dr. Duncan.

Still, if you notice any change at all, especially one occurring in only one breast, its a good idea to contact your doctor to get treatment started right away, if necessary.

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Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer

One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it’s still rare. It’s unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.

If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • a lump felt in the breast
  • nipple pain
  • an inverted nipple
  • nipple discharge
  • sores on the nipple and areola
  • enlarged lymph nodes under the arm

It’s important to note that enlargement of both breasts is usually NOT cancer. The medical term for this is gynecomastia. Sometimes the breasts can become quite large. Non-cancer-related enlargement of the breasts can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol use, weight gain, or marijuana use.

A small study about male breast cancer found that the average time between first symptom and diagnosis was 19 months, or over a year and a half. That’s a very long time! This is probably because people don’t expect breast cancer to happen to men, so there is little to no early detection.

Earlier diagnosis could make a life-saving difference. With more research and more public awareness, men will learn that just like women they need to go to their doctor right away if they detect any persistent changes to their breasts.

Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally

A Breast Cancer Diagnosis: What you need to know

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, it’s 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.

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