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How You Know If You Have Breast Cancer

Genomic Tests To Predict Recurrence Risk


Doctors use genomic tests to look for specific genes or proteins, which are substances made by the genes, that are found in or on cancer cells. These tests help doctors better understand the unique features of each patients breast cancer. Genomic tests can also help estimate the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment. Knowing this information helps doctors and patients make decisions about specific treatments and can help some patients avoid unwanted side effects from a treatment that may not be needed.

The genomic tests listed below can be done on a sample of the tumor that was already removed during biopsy or surgery. Most patients will not need an extra biopsy or more surgery for these tests.

For patients age 50 or younger

    • Recurrence score less than 16: Hormonal therapy is usually recommended, but chemotherapy is generally not needed

    • Recurrence score of 16 to 30: Chemotherapy may be recommended before hormonal therapy is given

    • Recurrence score of 31 or higher: Chemotherapy is usually recommended before hormonal therapy is given

For patients older than 50

The tests listed above have not been shown to be useful to predict risk of recurrence for people with HER2-positive or triple-negative breast cancer. Therefore, none of these tests are currently recommended for breast cancer that is HER2 positive or triple negative. Your doctor will use other factors to help recommend treatment options for you.

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.

Menutap On Me To See The 12 Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Explained

  • expand_moreHard LumpThe most common sign of breast cancer is a lump, deep in the breast. It often feels hard, like a lemon seed, and usually immovable. It can be any shape or size.A lump is not always easy to feel. If you have access to breast cancer screening, use ita mammogram can detect a lump long before it can be felt.Most lumps turn out to be harmless, such as a fluid filled cyst or a fibroadenoma. But if you notice a hard lump that doesnt come and go with your menstrual cycle, dont ignore it. The sooner breast cancer is found, the more easily it can be treated.
  • expand_moreThick AreaYou may notice that a part of your breast feels different from the rest, being less “squishy” and more “dense.” This can be a normal part of menstruation or breastfeeding. However, a thickening in your breast that doesnt go away or gets worse could also be a sign of breast cancer.The thickening can be in the skin or deeper in the breast. This thickening is caused when cancer cells are blocking circulation in the breast or a tumor is growing near the surface of the skin. This is different from a hard lump, which is formed when cancer cells grow very close together.Note: This is not to be confused with “breast density” which doesn’t refer to how a breast feels. Breast density can only be determined through a mammography report.
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    Qualifying For Social Security Benefits With Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women, with over 200,000 women being diagnosed per year.

    Although you will be facing some tough challenges, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, there may be resources available for your family to make things a little easier.

    A diagnosis of breast cancer will almost always require surgery and/or radiation. Most breast cancer patients will also require chemotherapy.

    Without insurance, the costs of these treatments can be astronomical.

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    Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast

    If you are older than 40 years, you are in risk to have ...

    A cancer might cause your breast to look bigger or have a different shape than usual, it might feel different.;

    Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender just before their period.;

    It can help to be breast aware. This means getting to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts.;

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    Planning Financially For Breast Cancer Treatment

    An unexpected cancer diagnosis often comes with a heavy financial burden. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, surgeries, and medications throughout the treatment journey can come as a shock, especially if they turn out to be out-of-pocket expenses. Medical bills can create additional stress in already trying times, so it’s important that patients understand any and all expenses that may arise during breast cancer treatment.

    Patients should always contact their insurance company to see what expenses will be covered by insurance and what resources will require funds from elsewhere. Crowdfunding via sites like GoFundMe has become a popular way to cover medical and living expenses throughout the treatment journey, as patients look to the support of their friends, family, and even generous strangers in their community. If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving a misdiagnosis, compensation from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can also help ease the financial stress of growing medical bills.

    Know That Taking Time Off From Work Is Your Right

    I was really lucky to have an employer that fully supported me through treatment and allowed me to take the time I needed. Your employer may be just as accommodating. If not, know that you have rights at work.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with cancer that enable them to do their jobs. Among other guarantees, this includes:

    • leave for doctors appointments or treatments
    • a modified work schedule

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    Fluid From The Nipple

    Unless youre breastfeeding, pregnant or experiencing changes in hormones, discharge leaking from the nipple could signal breast cancer. The fluid will differ vastly in appearance from breast milk, appearing yellow, green, brown, bloody or even clear. Depending on the individual, the discharge could be thick or thin and may have a sticky or watery consistency. If youre experiencing unexpected leakage, seek medical attention immediately.

    I Reported On A Story About A Lesser Known Breast Cancer Gene And It May Have Saved My Life

    How Did I Know I Had Breast Cancer?

    In a strange twist of fate, I would not have become a journalist if I had not been diagnosed with breast cancer.

    I always wanted to work as a journalist and when my three daughters were young, I went to Medill School of Journalism at night. I had to abandon that path when my husband and I divorced in the late 80s as I needed to earn a living. I took a job as a personal shopper at the Fifth Ave Club in Chicago at Saks where I dressed many high profile people.

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    Living With Breast Cancer

    Being diagnosed with breast cancer can affect daily life in many ways, depending on what stage;it’s at and;the treatment you will have.

    How people cope with the diagnosis and treatment varies from person to person. There are several forms of support available, if you need it.

    Forms of support may include:

    • family and friends, who can be a powerful support system
    • communicating with other people in the same situation
    • finding out as much as possible about your condition
    • not trying to do too much or overexerting yourself
    • making time for yourself

    Find out more about living with breast cancer.

    You Have Enlarged Lymph Nodes Around Your Collarbone

    Your armpits aren’t the only subtle place you might experience lymph node swelling due to breast cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the same issue can also occur above or below your collarbonesa location most people don’t even realize they have a set of lymph nodes in the first place. And for more red flags that aren’t always so obvious, check out 40 Subtle Signs Your Body Is Telling You Something’s Seriously Wrong.

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    Tests To Determine Specific Types Of Treatment

    You’ll also need tests that show whether the cancer will respond to specific types of treatment. The results of these tests can give your doctors a more complete picture of the type of cancer you have and how best to treat it. The types of test you could be offered are discussed below.

    In some cases, breast cancer cells can be stimulated to grow by hormones that occur naturally in your body, such as oestrogen and progesterone.

    If this is the case, the cancer may be treated by stopping the effects of the hormones, or by lowering the level of these hormones in your body. This is known as “hormone therapy”.

    During;a hormone receptor test, a sample of cancer cells will be taken from your breast and tested to see if they respond to either oestrogen or progesterone. If the hormone is able to attach to the cancer cells , they’re known as “hormone receptor positive”.

    While hormones can encourage the growth of some types of breast cancer, other types are stimulated by a protein called;human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 .

    These types of cancer can be diagnosed using a HER2 test, and treated with medication to block the effects of HER2. This is known as “biological” or “targeted” therapy.

    Your Areolas Have Gotten Thicker

    Here are Ways to Check If You Have Breast Cancer Yourself ...

    You probably have a pretty good idea of how your areolas usually look and feel at this pointthey’ve been on your body for quite some time, after allso if you notice any thickening, it’s something to check out. This can also take place in the breast skin as well, says the American Cancer Society.

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    Be Aware Of Your Breasts To Detect Breast Cancer Symptoms Early

    Studies show that regular breast self-exams are not the best way to detect breast cancer early.

    What does work? Being aware of how your breasts look and feel and seeing a doctor as soon as you notice changes or abnormalities.

    The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activities like showering, applying deodorant or even scratching, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center.

    Bevers advises women to see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, no matter how mild they may seem.

    You dont need to wait for any particular size or severity of symptoms to get checked out, she says. “The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the better our chances of treating it successfully.”

    And you shouldnt ignore symptoms just because you breasts don’t hurt. Pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, she says.;

    The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activitieslike showering, applying deodorant or even scratching.

    Therese Bevers, M.D.

    I Told My Boss And A Few Co

    Niomi Thompson, a community college administrator in Wichita, KS, is getting chemotherapy for stage III breast cancer. She chose to disclose her diagnosis at work because she knew shed look different after starting treatment and would have to miss days of work.

    The first person I told was my direct supervisor, Thompson says. After about a week, I emailed several close co-workers to tell them directly. She also gave her supervisor permission to tell other members of their team so she wouldnt have to repeat her story over and over.

    Shes happy with her decision.

    My direct supervisor was incredibly understanding and compassionate, as were my co-workers and other team members, Thompson says. Im glad I told them because many of them shared their own experiences with cancer and it was comforting to hear their stories.

    Thompsons co-workers even set up meals for her chemo days, which helped her family. But not everyone has such a supportive situation.

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    Back Pay And Breast Cancer

    If a breast cancer diagnosis has left you unable to work, your disability claim may seem challenging. To have a successful claim, hard medical evidence is needed. Provide a detailed list of your medical caregivers, including all doctors, clinics, nurse practitioners, hospitals, cancer centers, specialists, and labs. Your documentation must include the names of and the addresses and phone numbers for each provider. Include the service dates. Your breast cancer disability claim might include backpay, going back to the date when you filed for Social Security disability. That backpay will continue from that date until your disability claim was approved. Most claimants get backpay within 60 days of being approved for disability benefits.

    Men And Breast Cancer Warning Signs

    How to tell your kids you have 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.

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    Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

    • Add exercise into your routine
    • Limit alcohol
    • Limit postmenopausal hormone use
    • Breastfeed if possible

    Cancer doesnt discriminate. Some women are genetically predisposed to the disease. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no risk factors other than being female. Many lead healthy lives and have no symptoms until a mammogram detects an abnormality. Others find an unfamiliar change in the breast and seek care.


    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.

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    What Happens After The Local Breast Cancer Treatment

    Following local breast cancer treatment, the treatment team will determine the likelihood that the cancer will recur outside the breast. This team usually includes a medical oncologist, a specialist trained in using medicines to treat breast cancer. The medical oncologist, who works with the surgeon, may advise the use of the drugs like tamoxifen or anastrozole or possibly chemotherapy. These treatments are used in addition to, but not in place of, local breast cancer treatment with surgery and/or radiation therapy.

    After treatment for breast cancer, it is especially important for a woman to continue to do a monthly breast examination. Regular examinations will help you detect local recurrences. Early signs of recurrence can be noted in the incision area itself, the opposite breast, the axilla , or supraclavicular region .

    Maintaining your follow-up schedule with your physician is also necessary so problems can be detected when treatment can be most effective. Your health care provider will also be able to answer any questions you may have about breast self-examination after the following procedures.

    What Is A Normal Breast

    Taking the edge off Breast Cancer

    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

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