Any Nipple Dischargeparticularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge
It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.
Let your doctor know about any nipple discharge, clear, bloody or milky. The most concerning discharges are bloody or clear.
Special Types Of Invasive Breast Cancers
Some invasive breast cancers have special features or develop in different ways that affect their treatment and outlook. These cancers are less common but can be more serious than other types of breast cancer.
Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of invasive breast cancer. It accounts for about 1% to 5% of all breast cancers.
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Urgent Advice: You Should See Your Gp If You Notice:
- a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- bloodstained 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 is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Other Less Common Areas Breast Cancer May Spread To
Breast cancer metastasis isnt just limited to the sites weve listed above. Breast cancer can also spread to other areas of the body, although this is much less common. Some examples
Some symptoms may not be caused by the cancer itself, but by the treatment that youre undergoing. If youre experiencing any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor. They may be able to recommend a therapy to alleviate some symptoms.
Lobular Carcinoma In Situ Symptoms
Lobular carcinoma in situ does not cause symptoms and cannot be seen with a mammogram. This condition is usually found when a doctor is doing a breast biopsy for another reason, such as to investigate an unrelated breast lump. If a person has LCIS, the breast cells will appear abnormal under a microscope.
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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms
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.
Other Types Of Breast Cancer
Other less common types of breast cancer include invasive lobular breast cancer, which develops in the cells that line the milk-producing lobules, inflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease of the breast.
It’s possible for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph nodes or the bloodstream. If this happens, it’s known as ‘secondary’ or ‘metastatic’ breast cancer.
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Relationships With Friends And Family
It’s not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, don’t be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you need.
Read further information:
- Healthtalkonline: How breast cancer affects families
Further Tests For Breast Cancer
If a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, more tests will be needed to determine the stage and grade of the cancer, and to work out the best method of treatment.
If your cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you’ll have further tests in the screening centre before being referred for treatment.
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Check Your Breasts Every Month
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with approximately 1.7 million new cases diagnosed every year . It is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer in women.
Did you know? Breast cancer risk doubles each decade until menopause, after which the increase slows. However, breast cancer is more common after menopause.
In saying this, its so important to check your breasts every month no matter what age you are. While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you feel a lump, self-breast examinations help you to familiarize yourself with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Changes can be many things including appearance and the way things feel.
- All less common sites: 22.4%
Invasive lobular carcinoma tends to have a significantly different pattern of metastases than ductal breast cancer. In one 2017 study, almost 70% of people with metastases from lobular carcinoma had peritoneal metastases.
For roughly a third of women , cancer spreads to multiple organs at the same time.
Stage 2 Breast Cancer
- Stage 2A. The tumor is smaller than 2 cm and has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes, or its between 2 and 5 cm and hasnt spread to any lymph nodes.
- Stage 2B. The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm and has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes, or its larger than 5 cm and hasnt spread to any lymph nodes.
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What Is Metastatic Breast Cancer
Breast cancer usually begins in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple, and can metastasize reach other parts of the body when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph systems. Most of the time, cancer cells die at some point in the process of trying to spread. But, if conditions are favorable for the cancer cells, some of them are able to form new tumors in other parts of the body. Metastatic cancer cells can also remain inactive at a distant site for many years before they begin to grow again, if at all.
Breast Exam By Your Doctor
The same guidelines for self-exams provided above are true for breast exams done by your doctor or other healthcare professional. They wont hurt you, and your doctor may do a breast exam during your annual visit.
If youre having symptoms that concern you, its a good idea to have your doctor do a breast exam. During the exam, your doctor will check both of your breasts for abnormal spots or signs of breast cancer.
Your doctor may also check other parts of your body to see if the symptoms youre having could be related to another condition.
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The Most Common Breast Cancer Symptoms And How To Check For Them
In a statement released by her family on 8 August, it read: Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.
Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She beat the disease but was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2017. Newton-John had been vocal about the disease, educating women on what to look for after her initial mammogram didnt detect the cancer.
Harding revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it had spread to other parts of the body in August 2020.
In her book Hear Me Out, Harding wrote that she had felt pain around her breast but ignored it because she was in denial.
At first I thought it was just a cyst. Id been playing my guitar a lot, and I thought the strap had probably irritated an area around my breast.
The trouble was, the pain was getting worse. It got so bad that I couldnt sleep in a bed any more. I slept on the sofa, popping painkillers like they were Smarties.
Other Causes Of Breast 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 pain.
Clinically known as mastalgia, breast pain can also be caused by the following:
- the fluctuation of hormones caused by menstruation
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How Many People Survive Breast Cancer
- Almost nine in ten of women survive breast cancer for five years or more.
- Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.
- An estimated 600,000 people are alive in the UK after a diagnosis of breast cancer. This is predicted to rise to 1.2 million in 2030.
For many the overwhelming emotional and physical effects of the disease can be long-lasting.
Every year around 11,500women and 85 men die from breast cancer in the UK thats nearly 1,000 deaths each month, 31 each day or one every 45 minutes.
Breast cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women under 50 in the UK.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The most common symptoms of breast cancer that a family physician encounters are:-
- a palpable lump
- nipple discharge
Indeed all of the above symptoms will lead to a referral for breast cancer screening. Statistically speaking, presenting with a painless breast lump occurs about 56% of the time and a painful lump about 17% of the time.
Ulceration is the main presenting complaint about 16% of the time, and nipple discharge accounts for 11% of presenting breast cancer symptoms. However, the really good news is that overall only about 3% of women who present with these complaints actually turn out to have breast cancer.
and a few more Statistics
Statistically, there is an elevation in the risk of breast cancer if the patient presents with a breast lump.
In the case of a presenting breast lump, an eventual diagnosis of breast cancer occurs around 8% of the time.
However, the chances of breast cancer in the patient presenting with nipple complaints is only about 2%. Even better news for those presenting with breast pain, this turns out to be breast cancer in only 1% of cases.
Family physicians generally do not consider breast pain to be indicative of underlying malignant breast cancer. Indeed, doctors will only refer to a specialist about 17% of women who present with breast pain.
On average, and this is shocking, ladies, a woman will wait about 13 months before seeing their GP regarding breast symptoms that could be cancer.
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Ovarian Ablation Or Suppression
In women who havenât experienced the menopause, oestrogen is produced by the ovaries. Ovarian ablation or suppression stops the ovaries working and producing oestrogen.
Ablation can be carried out using surgery or radiotherapy. It stops the ovaries working permanently and means youâll experience the menopause early.
Ovarian suppression involves using a medication called goserelin, which is a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist . Your periods will stop while youâre taking it, although they should start again once your treatment is complete.
If youâre approaching the menopause , your periods may not start again after you stop taking goserelin.
Goserelin is taken as an injection once a month and can cause menopausal side effects, including:
- hot flushes and sweats
Read further information about hormone therapy
Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast
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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Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, and theyre broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive. Noninvasive breast cancer is also known as breast cancer in situ.
While invasive cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast, noninvasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue.
These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a noninvasive condition. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in your breast and havent invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ. Lobular carcinoma in situ is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells havent invaded the surrounding tissue.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in your breasts milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once the breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside your milk ducts, it can begin to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma.Invasive lobular carcinoma first develops in your breasts lobules and has invaded nearby tissue.
Other, less common types of breast cancer include:
The type of cancer you have helps guide your treatment options and long-term outcome.
of people with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society .
Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Most breast cancer symptoms are discovered by women during regular dailyactivities like bathing. Knowing how your breasts look and feel, andbeing alert for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump,can help you detect the disease early, when it’s easiest to treat.
Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or conditions that are less worrying than breast cancer. However, if you experience any of the following breast cancer symptoms, even if they seem mild, see your doctor.
- A lump in the breast or armpit is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Patients often describe this as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. Unless you have small breasts or the lump is very large, you probably wont be able to see it.
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
Though rare, men can also get breast cancer. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a lump, discharge or dimpling.
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Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ refers to an area of abnormal cells on one milk duct.
When a person receives this diagnosis, the cells have not invaded the surrounding breast tissue. However, having ductal carcinoma in situ can increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer later.
This condition generally does not cause symptoms. Doctors find through mammography. Rarely, a person may notice a lump in the breast or some discharge from the nipple.
Early Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A lump in your breast or underarm that doesnât go away. This is often the first symptom of breast cancer. Your doctor can usually see a lump on a mammogram long before you can see or feel it.
- Swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone. This could mean breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes in that area. Swelling may start before you feel a lump, so let your doctor know if you notice it.
- Pain and tenderness, although lumps donât usually hurt. Some may cause a prickly feeling.
- A flat or indented area on your breast. This could happen because of a tumor that you canât see or feel.
- Breast changes such as a difference in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of your breast.
- Changes in your nipple, like one that:
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Breast Changes Dont Always Mean Breast Cancer But Being Proactive Is Key
Breast changes are often a normal part of a womans monthly cycle, but its important to be aware of the changes your breasts go through each month. Closely monitoring your breasts will help you be able to tell the difference between whats normal for your body and changes that may be cause for concern. Take control of your breast health and dont hesitate to contact your doctor or Siteman if you have concerns and would like to be screened.