By Step Guide On How To Perform Breast Self Exam At Home:
Look at your breasts in the mirror Position your shoulders straight and place your arms on your hips. See if your breasts have their usual size, shape, color and whether they have visible swelling or change in shape. Check that they dont have dimpling or puckering of the skin, or that they became red, sore, swollen or have rash. Also check your nipples to see if they became inverted or changed their position.
Raise your arms and look for the same changes. Squeeze the nipple and check if fluid comes out of one or both nipples. The discharge can be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood.
Check your breast when lying down Use your right hand to feel your left breast and then vice versa. When feeling your breast with your hands, keep your fingers together and use the first few finger pads applying small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Check yourself in the shower Many women find that it is easier to check for changes in the breast when their hands are wet and slippery with soap and water. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements as when lying down and check for any lumps or thickening in your underarm area too.
If you find something suspicious with your breast dont panic, as most of the lumps are not cancerous and many breast changes are not associated with cancer, but for your own peace of mind call your doctor if you have any concerns.
Keeping Personal Health Records
You and your doctor should work together to develop a personalized follow-up care plan. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have about your future physical or emotional health. ASCO offers forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan when treatment is completed.
This is also a good time to talk with your doctor about who will lead your follow-up care. Some survivors continue to see their oncologist, while others transition back to the care of their primary care doctor or another health care professional. This decision depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, side effects, health insurance rules, and your personal preferences.
If a doctor who was not directly involved in your cancer care will lead your follow-up care, be sure to share your cancer treatment summary and survivorship care plan with them and with all future health care providers. Details about your cancer treatment are very valuable to the health care professionals who will care for you throughout your lifetime.
The next section in this guide is Survivorship. It describes how to cope with challenges in everyday life after a cancer diagnosis. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.
The word survivorship means different things to different people. Common definitions include:
A New Perspective On Your Health
For many people, survivorship serves as a strong motivator to make lifestyle changes.
People recovering from inflammatory breast cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol, eating well, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Regular physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level. Maintaining a healthy weight may also help lower the risk of a breast cancer recurrence and other medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Your health care team can help you create an appropriate exercise plan based on your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about making healthy lifestyle choices.
To take care of your health, it is important to have recommended medical checkups and tests and to follow up with your primary health care provider.
Talk with your health care team to develop a survivorship care plan that is best for your needs.
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In March 2020 I Began The Standard Treatment For Ibc: Chemotherapy Followed By Surgery And Radiation
Because I come from an Indian family, my husband is Cape Verdan, and were both first-generation Americans, we really value maintaining open communication with our kids. I told them, Mommy is very, very sick and will have to get sicker before she can get better. We also gradually introduced my older son to the term cancer and explained to him that there are good and bad cells fighting inside my body.
Due to COVID-19, I had to receive treatment alone at the hospital, and while I had a great team, it was hard to spend long days away from my family. Two weeks in, when my hair began to fall out, we experienced this change together. My husband, kids, parents, and sister were present as my brother, an aspiring barber, shaved my head. It was a difficult transition, as my 1-year-old had always stroked my hair to soothe herself when she couldnt sleep. I tried to give her a doll with a braid to use, but it didnt work. And although I tried to wear a wig or scarf at first, in the Florida heat, it was unbearable.
Each round of chemotherapy was challenging in its own way, and it was difficult to have little children who couldnt understand exactly what I was going through. But one of the hardest moments of my life was my double mastectomy in August 2020.
Family Physicians Role In Management
Family physicians are gatekeepers: they play a crucial role in identifying IBC and referring patients appropriately. The oncology team treats the cancer and related problems however, the family doctor manages nononcologic diagnoses that were present before diagnosis of IBC. Some conditions might be affected by treatment for instance, blood-glucose control in patients with diabetes often worsens during chemotherapy, owing to steroids given adjunctively. The family doctor often needs to provide psychological support to the patient and her family. Once treatment is finished, close clinical surveillance and annual mammography are shared responsibilities of the oncologist and family doctor. The family doctor also monitors for long-term side effects of treatment .
How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed
If you have swelling or redness on your breast that doesnât go away and doesnât get better with antibiotics after a week, your doctor may suspect inflammatory breast cancer. An ultrasound and other imaging tests will give a more detailed look at your breast.
Your doctor may order one or more of the following:
- Mammogram. This can show if the affected breast is denser or if the skin is thicker than the other breast.
- MRI . It uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make pictures of the breast and structures inside your body.
- CT scan . It’s a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body.
- PET scan . Used together with a CT scan, this test can help find cancer in lymph nodes and other areas of the body.
- Breast ultrasound. This imaging test uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of your breast. It can help spot changes that donât show up on mammograms.
A biopsy can tell for sure if you have cancer. A doctor will remove a small section of breast tissue or skin to test it.
Often, the sample can be taken with a needle, but sometimes a cut is made to remove it. The type of biopsy you have may depend on whether a mass can be seen on imaging tests.
The medical team will use whatâs collected in the biopsy to look for any abnormal cell growth and also test for proteins associated with some cancers. If youâre diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, more tests can show how much of the breast and the area around it is affected.
The Next Day I Got A Call From The Cancer Center They Wanted Me To Come In Right Away
Initially, a biopsy of my skin came back negative, and I was put on two rounds of the strongest antibiotics they had. But a series of internal biopsies confirmed the opposite. On March 4, 2020, I learned I did, in fact, have inflammatory breast cancer .
When the doctor told me I had stage III inflammatory breast cancer, I was baffled. Like many people, Id never heard of inflammatory breast cancer, likely because its so rareit only accounts for about 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancers. As I learned, IBC is an aggressive cancer and all cases are first diagnosed as at least stage III since the cancer cells have already grown into your skin.
While Id always thought of lumps as potential red flags for breast cancer, the initial signs of IBC are completely different, and similar to those of mastitis. And since breast infections are much more common, doctors often go ahead and give you antibiotics when you show up with symptoms like mine.
Signs of IBC include a swollen breast thats itchy, tender, or painful red or purplish skin that may dimple or thicken a retracted or inverted nipple and, if the cancer has spread, swollen lymph nodes under your arm or near your collarbone.
Because IBC often affects women under 40, doesnt always cause a lump, and may not show up on a mammogram, it tends to be harder to diagnose than other breast cancers. Its also important to note that it affects Black women more than white women.
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Changing Role Of Caregivers
Family members and friends may also go through periods of transition. A caregiver plays a very important role in supporting a person diagnosed with cancer, providing physical, emotional, and practical care on a daily or as-needed basis. Many caregivers become focused on providing this support, especially if the treatment period lasts for many months or longer.
However, as treatment is completed, the caregiver’s role often changes. Eventually, the need for caregiving related to the cancer diagnosis will become much less or come to an end. Caregivers can learn more about adjusting to life after caregiving.
Change In Nipple Appearance
A change in the shape of the nipple is another possible early sign of IBC. Your nipple may become flat or retract inside the breast.
A pinch test can help determine if your nipples are flat or inverted. Place your thumb and index finger around your areola and gently squeeze. A normal nipple moves forward after pinching. A flat nipple doesnt move forward or backward. A pinch causes an inverted nipple to retract into the breast.
Having flat or inverted nipples does not necessarily mean you have IBC. These types of nipples are normal for some women and are no cause for concern. On the other hand, if your nipples change, speak with a doctor immediately.
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Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treatment
Cancer thats spread to more distant areas of the body is typically treated using one or a combination of the systemic therapies mentioned above. These include:
Its unclear exactly what causes IBC. In general, cancer develops due to genetic changes. These can happen due to a variety of factors, such as:
- genetic changes inherited from your parents
- irregularities that naturally occur during cell division
- damage to DNA through environmental exposures
Sometimes gene mutations that are associated with cell growth and division can occur. When this happens, cells can grow and divide out of control.
In IBC, cells in the breast ducts or lobules begin to rapidly grow and divide. As cancer cells build up, they block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This leads to the redness, swelling, and dimpling associated with IBC.
Unconventional Signs Of Breast Cancer That You Must Know About
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.
The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.
Its important to have a firm grasp of bodily knowledge, as the earliest stages of breast cancer usually come without pain. The most common indicator is the discovery of a lump, but cancer goes through multiple progressive stages before these lumps form. It may sometimes take years for lumps to develop, so people shouldnt rely solely on lumps to indicate breast cancer, as they usually indicate an already progressive disease.
There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs arent definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. Some of the more obvious signs are:
- Change in breast structure
- Changes in the skin or nipple
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Treatment For Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer can spread more quickly than other types of breast cancer, so you often start treatment straight away.
You will usually be offered a combination of different treatments. These treat both the breast area and the body as a whole .
For most types of breast cancer, surgery is usually the first treatment. But with inflammatory breast cancer, you have chemotherapy first. Having chemotherapy before surgery is called neo-adjuvant treatment.
We have more information about treatment for breast cancer.
Finishing Treatment And The Chance Of Recurrence
For patients with stage III inflammatory breast cancer, when treatment ends, a period many call “post-treatment survivorship” begins. After treatment, people can feel uncertain and worry that the cancer may come back. While many patients never have the disease return, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place , nearby , or in another place .
If this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After this testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about the treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the treatments described above, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Your doctor may suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer. Whichever treatment plan you choose, palliative care will be important for relieving symptoms and side effects.
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Outlook For Breast Cancer In Men
The outlook for breast cancer in men varies depending on how far it has spread by the time it’s diagnosed.
It may be possible to cure breast cancer if it’s found early.
A cure is much less likely if the cancer is found after it has spread beyond the breast. In these cases, treatment can relieve your symptoms and help you live longer.
Speak to your breast care nurse if you’d like to know more about the outlook for your cancer.
Caring For A Loved One With Cancer
Family members and friends often play an important role in taking care of a person with inflammatory breast cancer. This is called being a caregiver. Caregivers can provide physical, practical, and emotional support to the patient, even if they live far away. Being a caregiver can also be stressful and emotionally challenging. One of the most important tasks for caregivers is caring for themselves.
Caregivers may have a range of responsibilities on a daily or as-needed basis, including:
Providing support and encouragement
Helping with household chores
Handling insurance and billing issues
A caregiving plan can help caregivers stay organized and help identify opportunities to delegate tasks to others. It may be helpful to ask the health care team how much care will be needed at home and with daily tasks during and after treatment. Use this 1-page fact sheet to help make a caregiving action plan. This free fact sheet is available as a PDF, so it is easy to print.
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Please Help As Im So Scared
Hello, I noticed a red blemish on my breast on Sunday morning and for some reason I googled it. Inflammatory breast cancer Kept coming up. I went to my doctor on Monday and was prescribed antibiotics as he thought it could be an infection. I’ve been taking the antibiotics for 3 days now and the symptoms are worse. Clearly they antibiotics aren’t working. My blemish now has purple bruising around it and the rest of my breast and my lymph nodes are still swollen and have become more painful. I am absolutely petrified that it’s IBC and have made a private appointment for next Tuesday. All of my symptoms are exactly the same as those for inflammatory breast cancer. Has anyone else experienced similar symptoms? I’ve cried for 3 days , can’t eat or function. I’m totally consumed by it. I’d really appreciate your response. Thank you, laura x
I am 41 BTW
Did You Experience Any Side Effects
I took the chemotherapy treatments well. I was in treatment over the Thanksgivingholiday, and I remember that I temporarily lost my sense of taste. At one point,the drugs made my throat very raw and I had trouble eating, but I pulled throughthat.
I lost my hair from the chemo treatments. On the night before I went in forsurgery, my daughter and grandkids were kidding around, and they put some ofthe children’s temporary tattoos on my bald head. I can still rememberthe doctors and nurses laughing at my head covered in Christmas tattoos as Iwent into surgery.
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