How Can I Be Sure That My Cancer Will Be Detected Before It Has Spread
While you cant prevent breast cancer altogether, there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk of discovering it at an advanced stage. For example:
- Get routine mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40.
- Examine your breasts every month after age 20. Youll become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
- Have your breasts 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 mammograms may not find.
How To Know If You Have A New Breast
Get to know your breasts so youll notice if anything changes. Many people notice things during regular, day-to-day activities like showering or putting deodorant on. If you spot a new mass, lump, or change in your breast or nipple, see your doctor. If you need to see a specialist, they can refer you.
What Can Your Pathology Report Tell You About Tnbc
The analysis of your tissue sample from a biopsy or surgery will indicate that your tumour does not express an oestrogen receptor , progesterone receptor or human epidermal growth factor 2 . In your pathology results, you may read about the percentage of cells being positive for oestrogen and progesterone. If this percentage is less than 1%, the cancer is considered to be hormone receptor negative. For the HER2 protein, the result would be rated as 0, 1+ or 2+ to be considered HER2-negative18.
Triple negative cancer cells tend to look very different from normal breast cancer cells, which means that the cancer is classified as high grade . Cells that behave in this way tend to have high levels of markers that indicate cell proliferation such as Ki67, p53+ and p63+. This means that the cells grow and divide quickly 19.
Want to keep track of all the information from your pathology report? With the OWise breast cancer app you can input your details and the app will generate a personalised treatment report based on your breast cancer subtype!
To better understand your pathology results, head to our previous pathology report blog.
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How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will perform a breast examination and ask about your family history, medical history and any existing symptoms. Your healthcare provider will also recommend tests to check for breast abnormalities. These tests may include:
- Mammogram. These special X-ray images can detect changes or abnormal growths in your breast. A mammogram is commonly used in breast cancer prevention.
- Ultrasonography. This test uses sound waves to take pictures of the tissues inside of your breast. Its used to help diagnose breast lumps or abnormalities.
- Positron emission tomography scanning: A PET scan uses special dyes to highlight suspicious areas. During this test, your healthcare provider injects a special dye into your veins and takes images with the scanner.
- Magnetic resonance imaging : This test uses magnets and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of the structures inside of your breast.
If your healthcare provider sees anything suspicious on the imaging tests, they may take a biopsy of your breast tissue. Theyll send the sample to a pathology lab for analysis.
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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Phase Iii Embrca Trial
In the pivotal phase 3 study EMBRCA, authors investigated talazoparib in 431 patients with gBRCA mutations and MBC. Approximately half of patients had TNBC with the remainder having ER/PR-positive breast cancer. Patients had a median of 2 prior lines of chemotherapy and were randomised in a 2:1 manner to receive talazoparib vs physicians choice . Median PFS was greater in the talazoparib group compared to the control group-8.6 mo vs 5.6 mo with an objective response rate of 62.6% vs 27.2%. Benefit within the TNBC and HR positive subgroups was equivalent. Crucially however, median OS was not significantly greater in the talazoparib group compared to the placebo group . Patients in the talazoparib group did however have improved health related quality of life outcomes. More than a quarter of patients suffered from a grade 3 or grade 4 adverse event in the talazoparib group which was similar to the control group . Notably, one patient suffered from the rare but well described PARPi toxicity of acute myeloid leukaemia.
Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented
You may be able to help prevent breast cancer by making healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Limiting alcohol use
- Limiting your exposure to estrogen by
- Breastfeeding your babies if you can
- Limiting hormone therapy
If you are at high risk, your health care provider may suggest that you take certain medicines to lower the risk. Some women at very high risk may decide to get a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer.
It’s also important to get regular mammograms. They may be able to identify breast cancer in the early stages, when it is easier to treat.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
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Your Nipples Have Changed
Only mannequins have perfect, pointy, well-behaved nipples. Real, human women have to deal with different colors and sizes, positions, textures, and hair.
Fortunately, all of these things are totally normal and not a problem as long as theyre your normal, says Dr. Denduluri. For example, if your nips have always been inverted, thats just how youre shaped, but if they change suddenly, going from pointy to fully or partially inverted, call your doctor stat. Bottom line: Any changes in your nipplesincluding their color and textureneed to be checked to rule out cancer, Dr. Denduluri says.
Oh, and BTW, hairy nipples on women have nothing to do with cancer and are totally normalone in three women have nipple hair, she adds.
The Importance Of The Breast Self
To recognize many of the signs of breast cancer mentioned, Dr. Yoga points out that you first have to know what’s normal for you.
“This is why breast self-exams are important,” says Dr. Yoga. “It’s a time to examine your breasts and notice what looks and feels normal for you.”
She adds that this is increasingly important as more and more young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“For most women, screening mammogram is recommended at age 40, but we’re seeing more women in their 30s being diagnosed with breast cancer particularly in the African-American community,” says Dr. Yoga.
Before age 40, even if you’re not yet eligible for a screening mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram can be done if a clinical finding is uncovered. This means it’s still important to do breast self-exams now and then and consult your doctor if something feels off.
“As mentioned, fibrocystic changes can come and go with your menstrual cycle as well as other factors,” says Dr. Yoga. “But if you feel a mass and it’s persistent, you need to be evaluated, even if it’s not yet time for you to have a screening mammogram.”
She adds that diagnostic mammogram and breast ultrasound are always options for a woman who feels a lump or is showing other signs of breast cancer.
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Can Breast Cancer Cause Changes In Hormones
Breast Changes. You may notice differences in your breasts over time, especially as your hormone cycles change. These usually arent linked to cancer. But its best to know for sure. A difference in how your breast looks or feels could be a sign of cancer: You might spot: Changes in the size of your breast.
Why Do Recurrences Happen And What Can Trigger Them
Sometimes cancer cells can survive treatment. These cells may eventually reproduce enough to form a new tumor. If they manage to reach the blood stream or lymph system, they can spread to distant organs and tissues.
There are so many factors involved that its not possible to pinpoint exactly why an individual has a recurrence. We do know that the majority of recurrences happen within the first . The risk never completely goes away, but it does steadily decline over time.
The main factors that can influence your chance of recurrence are:
Its likely that youll need a combination of therapies to treat a breast cancer recurrence. Treatment depends on many factors such as:
- breast cancer type
- how far and to where it has spread
- your earlier treatments
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Factors That Increase The Risk Of Breast Cancer
1- Having a family history of breast cancer is one of the things that increases the risk of developing it by two or three times, according to the World Health Organization.
2- Certain mutations, particularly mutations in the BRCA1, BRCA2, and p53 genes, lead to a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer.
However, these mutations are rare and represent only a small percentage of the overall disease burden.
3- The girl reaches early puberty before the age of 12
That is, the start of her menstrual cycle before this age.
4- Exogenous hormones also increase the risk of breast cancer.
Women who use oral contraceptives, and women who undergo hormone replacement therapy, are also at greater risk of developing this disease.
5- Advances in age: the older a woman is, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer.
6- Drinking alcohol.
8- Previous incidence of breast cancer, as this makes women more vulnerable to cancer recurrence .
9- Reaching menopause at a later age, i.e. the later the age at which a woman stops menstruating, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
10- Never get pregnant, as women who did not become pregnant are more likely to get sick than those who did.
11- The delay in having the first child, as those who gave birth to their first child after the age of 35 are more likely to develop breast cancer.
12- Exposure to radiotherapy in the chest area during childhood or adolescence.
How To Reduce Risk
There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, but there are certain steps a person can take to lower their risk.
Actions that may lower the risk of breast cancer include:
- Get to a healthy weight: High body weight and weight gain as an adult increase the risk of breast cancer after menopause. The
Several benign breast conditions can cause symptoms that resemble those of cancer. Some of these issues require treatment, while others go away on their own.
Though these conditions are benign, they can cause:
- discomfort or pain
Some common benign breast conditions include:
If a person is unsure what is causing any breast-related symptom, they should talk with a doctor as soon as possible.
As with most cancers, early breast cancer detection and treatment leads to a better outcome. People should attend regular breast examinations and tell a doctor about any breast-related symptoms or changes.
According to the ACS , when a doctor diagnoses breast cancer before it has spread beyond the breast, the relative 5-year survival rate is 99%.
Relative survival rates can help people understand the likelihood of treatment being successful. A relative 5-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people living 5 years after their diagnosis compared to people without the disease.
When breast cancer has spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 86%. The same survival rate for cancer that has spread to other organs is 29%.
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Tips For Coping With Breast Cancer Recurrence
Fear of recurrence after cancer is totally normal. Rest assured that youre not alone and that the feeling may fade over time. In the meantime:
- Be vigilant about regular checkups and follow-up testing. It may help to know that youre doing everything within your control.
- Be mindful about your overall health. Follow your doctors recommendations for diet, exercise, and medications.
- Have fun. Dive into things that bring you joy or contentment.
Its also important to know that recurrence is not your fault guilt should never be part of the picture. Here are some constructive ways to deal with recurrence:
- Dont go it alone. Lean on your family, friends, and social network for support.
- Join an in-person or online support group. Theres nothing quite like sharing with others who totally get it. You might also find it beneficial to speak with a therapist.
- Speak openly with your oncologist. Ask questions, discuss your concerns, and seek another opinion.
If someone you care about has a breast cancer recurrence, your support can make all the difference. You can lend a ton of support, even if youre unsure what to say or do:
- Be there. Just showing up can be a major boost.
- Listen. Let them talk about fears and frustrations without fear of judgement.
- Ask how you can help. Their needs may not be obvious, so ask for specifics.
Symptoms Of Regional Recurrence
Symptoms of a regional recurrence may include:
- lumps in your lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone
- 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 stages.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization . Whether youre concerned about breast pain or tenderness, its important to stay informed on risk factors and warning signs of breast cancer.
The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk with your doctor about when you should start breast cancer screening.
If youre worried that your breast pain or tenderness could be something serious, make an appointment with your doctor today. If you find a lump in your breast see your doctor.
You Feel A Strange Tickling Sensation
How your breasts feel internally can be just as important as how they feel on the outside, says Sherry Ross, MD, an OB-GYN and author of She-ology. Some women report feeling a sensation almost like theyre being tickled from the inside, their breast feels like its buzzing or prickly inside, or like their breast milk is letting down , she says.
Weird feelings can happen for no reason at all but if youre experiencing strange sensations in your breast that are abnormal and recurring, its time to call your doc, she says.
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.
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What Is A Normal Breast
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
Changes To The Skins Texture
Breast cancer can cause changes and inflammation in skin cells that can lead to texture changes. Examples of these texture changes include scaly skin around the nipple and areola, as though the skin is sunburned or extremely dry, and skin thickening in any part of the breast.
These changes may also cause itching, which people often associate with breast cancer, although it is not common.
These skin changes may be symptomatic of a breast cancer type called Pagets disease.
Texture changes can also occur as a result of benign skin conditions, including dermatitis and eczema.
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How Does Breast Cancer Start
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.
Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.