What Are Dense Breasts
Breasts contain glandular, connective, and fat tissue. Breast density is a term that describes the relative amount of these different types of breast tissue as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue and relatively low amounts of fatty breast tissue.
What Is A Breast Cancers Grade
Cancer cells are given a grade when they are removed from the breast and checked in the lab. The grade is based on how much the cancer cells look like normal cells. The grade is used to help predict your outcome and to help figure out what treatments might work best.
A low grade number usually means the cancer is slower-growing and less likely to spread.
A high grade number means a faster-growing cancer thats more likely to spread.
An intermediate grade number means the cancer is growing faster than a grade 1 cancer but slower than a grade 3 cancer.
Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor.
You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- 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.
Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer.
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What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
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Histologically Normal Tissues From An Affected Breast Can Demonstrate Molecular Predisposition To Cancer
Unsupervised cluster analysis of the original PCR data placed 7 of the 38 ipsilateral normal tissues in the cancer cluster . The difference between these and the remaining 31 ipsilateral tissues cannot be correlated with tissue or patient characteristics . Because BRCA status was not recorded, the study does not address any possible link between mutation and a cancer-like gene expression pattern in ipsilateral normal tissue. Another explanation is a positional effect related to distance between lesion and the site of normal tissue collection or that index lesion and ipsilateral normal tissue come from the same lobe . Consequently, a normal tissue from an unaffected contralateral breast should display a normal-like gene expression pattern. Indeed, of the three contralateral normal tissues, the two coming from a breast without evidence of cancer were found in the normal cluster and the third, from a breast with malignancy, grouped with the cancers.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer symptoms can vary for each person. Possible signs of breast cancer include:
- A change in the size, shape or contour of your breast.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A lump or thickening in or near your breast or in your underarm that persists through your menstrual cycle.
- A change in the look or feel of your skin on your breast or nipple .
- Redness of your skin on your breast or nipple.
- An area thats distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under your skin.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from your nipple.
Some people dont notice any signs of breast cancer at all. Thats why routine mammograms and are so important.
Types Of Breast Cancer
There are many different types of breast cancer. The type is determined by the specific kind of cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancers are carcinomas. The most common breast cancers such as ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma are adenocarcinomas, since the cancers start in the gland cells in the milk ducts or the lobules . Other kinds of cancers can grow in the breast, like angiosarcoma or sarcoma, but are not considered breast cancer since they start in different cells of the breast.
Breast cancers are also classified by certain types of proteins or genes each cancer might make. After a biopsy is done, breast cancer cells are tested for proteins called estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and the HER2 gene or protein. The tumor cells are also closely looked at in the lab to find out what grade it is. The specific proteins found and the tumor grade can help decide the stage of the cancer and treatment options.
To learn more about the specific tests done on breast cancer cells, see Understanding a Breast Cancer Diagnosis.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A new lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the armpit
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast. It may look like the skin of an orange.
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk. The discharge might happen suddenly, be bloody, or happen in only one breast.
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Nanotechnology In Breast Cancer
The field of nanotechnology has rapidly evolved as evidenced by the fact that there are more than 150 ongoing clinical trials investigating the efficacy of nanotechnology based drug delivery carriers targeting cancer. Various liposomal doxorubicin formulations were developed in an effort to improve the therapeutic index of the conventional doxorubicin chemotherapy while maintaining its anti-tumor activity. For example, the efficacy of three liposomal doxorubicins are currently being used: liposomal daunorubicin , liposomal doxorubicin , and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin . Generally, these agents exhibit efficacies comparable to those of conventional doxorubicin, except with better safety profiles and less cardio toxicity. In addition to liposomal doxorubicin, albumin-bound paclitaxel is another example of an E PR based nanovector application for breast cancer chemotherapy. Paclitaxel is highly hydrophobic and dissolved in cremophor to prevent paclitaxel precipitation. However, cremophor-associated toxicities are severe and challenge the application of paclitaxel. Albumin-bound paclitaxel was developed to improve the solubility of paclitaxel
What Does A Mammogram Show
A mammogram is a test used to examine the inside of the breasts, using a low dose X-ray. A trained clinician can interpret the images to identify any abnormal areas, masses or calcium deposits that may or may not indicate breast cancer. Mammograms performed on women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer are called screening mammograms. Mammograms that used to evaluate an abnormal breast symptom are called diagnostic mammograms.
What Does Breast Cancer Look Like On A Mammogram
Any area that does not look like normal tissue is a possible cause for concern. The radiologist will look for areas of white, high-density tissue and note its size, shape, and edges.
A lump or tumor will show up as a focused white area on a mammogram. Tumors can be cancerous or benign.
If a tumor is benign, it is not a health risk and is unlikely to grow or change shape. Most tumors found in the breasts are non-cancerous.
Small white specks are usually harmless. The radiologist will check their shape and pattern, as they can sometimes be a sign of cancer.
As well as dense breast tissue and possible tumors, a radiologist will look for anything unusual on a mammogram.
Other abnormalities include:
A mass may refer to a tumor, cyst, or fibroadenoma, whether it is cancerous or not.
A mammogram can also give a person information about their breast density. People with dense breasts have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Dense breasts can make it more difficult to find abnormalities on a mammogram.
Mammograms are still possible if a person has had breast cancer surgery or implants. However, it may be necessary to take more images of each breast, and it might take longer to check the images.
A radiologist will often compare a mammogram against previous images. This can help them to spot any changes and decide whether an unusual area could be a sign of cancer.
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How To Do A Breast Self
Performing a breast self-exam will help familiarize you with whats normal for your breasts. This can make it easier to notice any changes that may occur later on. If you menstruate, the best time for a self-exam is a few days after your period has ended.
Follow these steps when doing a self-exam:
- Stand unclothed in front of a mirror. Keep your shoulders straight with your arms at your sides. Look for changes in the size, shape, or color of your breasts. Also look for swelling and nipple changes, including discharge.
- Repeat with your arms raised.
- Next, lie down and lift your right arm over your head.
- Continue to examine your entire breast, from your collarbone to the top part of your abdomen, and from the center of your chest to your armpit. Try to follow a pattern so you cover your entire breast. Before you finish, gently squeeze your nipple to check for any discharge.
- Finally, stand or sit up, lift your right arm over your head and massage your breast in a similar manner to the steps above. Doing this in a shower when your skin is wet may make it easier to feel your breasts.
- Once youre done with one breast, switch sides and repeat. Try to do a self-exam once a month, around the same time each month.
If you notice anything unusual, call your doctor. A breast exam doesnt take the place of routine medical care and breast cancer screening.
See your doctor if you feel an unexplained lump in your breast or notice other changes, like:
Normal Breast Changes Through Life
The female breast will go through various normal changes over the course of a lifetime. Many of these changes are driven by hormones. They can be related to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or the normal aging process. Most breast changes are not cancer, however, if you do notice an unusual breast change, it is important that you speak with your doctor so that it can be checked as soon as possible.
Normal breast changes throughout life include:
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What Are Breast Lobes And Breast Ducts
Each female breast contains 15-20 sections called lobes. Each lobe is made up of many smaller sacs called lobules . It is these lobules that produce milk in breastfeeding women. The lobes and lobules are connected to the nipple by tubes called ducts, which carry milk to the nipple. Milk flows through the nipple to the outside during breastfeeding.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are
- 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 or 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.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Learning everything you can about your diagnosis can help you make informed decisions about your health. Here are some questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Where is the tumor located?
- Has the tumor spread?
- What stage breast cancer do I have?
- What do the estrogen receptor , progesterone receptor and HER2 tests show and what do the results mean for me?
- What are my treatment options?
- Is breast cancer surgery an option for me?
- Will I be able to work while I undergo treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What other resources are available to me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can feel scary, frustrating and even hopeless. If you or a loved one is facing this disease, its important to take advantage of the many resources available to you. Talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options. You may even want to get a second opinion before making a decision. You should feel satisfied and optimistic about your treatment plan. Finally, joining a local support group can help with feelings of isolation and allow you to talk with other people who are going through the same thing.
Likely Features Of A Breast Cyst
A physical exam can give your doctor a general idea of whether youre dealing with a cyst or a tumor.
The next step is usually an ultrasound test.
If soundwaves pass right through the lump, that means its filled with liquid and is a simple cyst. If the soundwaves echo back, it means theres at least some solid matter and more testing will be needed to reach a diagnosis.
If the ultrasound shows a complex or complicated cyst, the next steps may include:
- a mammogram or MRI to get a better view of the entire breast
- aspiration or draining the cyst with a fine needle to see if the fluid contains any blood or unusual cells.
- a biopsy to determine if the solid areas are cancerous or benign
In an estimated 1.6 million breast biopsies a year in the United States, 75 percent are benign.
A simple cyst is no cause for concern and doesnt necessarily need to be treated. Your doctor may suggest a wait and see approach because cysts sometimes go away on their own.
For cysts that continue to cause discomfort, your doctor can drain the cyst or surgically remove it.
, simple cysts dont increase your risk of developing breast cancer, though theres a small chance that complex cysts may.
A 2019 study found that 30 percent of breast cancer cases were in people who had a history of benign breast disease.
Early-stage breast cancer doesnt usually cause symptoms, but here are some warning signs:
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Why You Shouldn’t Think Twice About Getting A Lump Checked
A woman’s risk for breast cancer is highest after the age of 50, but even young women can develop breast cancer. Since any lump could potentially be cancerous, it’s critical that you have any lump you may have felt evaluated by a doctor no matter your age.
“While many lumps will end up being benign breast lump disease, many others won’t be and we don’t want to miss out on diagnosing breast cancer,” says Dr. Joshi. “Through mammograms and other imaging modalities, breast cancer is very easy to catch and diagnose, and when caught early breast cancer is very, very treatable.”
In addition, Dr. Joshi says you shouldn’t avoid having a lump checked just because you’re worried about having a painful biopsy.
“Mammograms and breast ultrasounds are very powerful tools that can help us diagnose even the smallest breast cancers with very high specificity,” explains Dr. Joshi. “We don’t need to biopsy the lump in every case.”
Lastly, if you’re nervous about going to your doctor’s office to have a lump checked during COVID-19, don’t be. Houston Methodist doctor offices and imaging centers have enhanced safety measures in place and are taking extra precautions to keep you safe during your appointment or mammogram, including:
Prognostic Impact Of Tumor
It has been previously reported that tumor-specific expression of the rate-limiting enzyme, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutharyl-coenzyme A reductase , in the mevalonate pathway is associated with more favorable tumor parameters in breast cancer. In the present study, it is examined the prognostic value of HMG–CoAR expression in a large cohort of primary breast cancer patients with long-term follow up.
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What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several different types of breast cancer, including:
Can cancer form in other parts of the breast?
When we say breast cancer, we usually mean cancers that form in milk ducts or lobules. Cancers can also form in other parts of your breast, but these types of cancer are less common. These can include:
- Angiosarcoma. This rare type of cancer begins in the cells that make up the lining of blood or lymph vessels.
- Phyllodes tumors. Starting in the connective tissue, phyllodes tumors are rare. Theyre usually benign , but they can be malignant in some cases.