Lymphatic And Vascular System
There is a lymphatic and vascular network inside the breast. The vascular system consists of blood vessels, and the lymphatic system consists of lymph channels.
These two systems work together to carry blood and fluid to and from the breast tissue to the rest of the body.
If breast cancer enters these systems, it can travel throughout the body, increasing the chance of it spreading or coming back.
Lymph nodes are clusters of bean-shaped cells present throughout the lymphatic system. These are immune cells that act as filters. They are the first place breast cancer is likely to spread.
What Are Breast Cancer Survival Rates By Stage What Is The Prognosis Of Breast Cancer
Survival rates are a way for health care professionals to discuss the prognosis and outlook of a cancer diagnosis with their patients. The number most frequently discussed is 5-year survival. It is the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after they are diagnosed with cancer. Many of these patients live much longer, and some patients die earlier from causes other than breast cancer. With a constant change in therapies, these numbers also change. The current 5-year survival statistic is based on patients who were diagnosed at least 5 years ago and may have received different therapies than are available today. As with all statistics, although the numbers define outcomes for the group, any individual’s outcome has the potential for a wide range of variation.
All of this needs to be taken into consideration when interpreting these numbers for oneself.
Below are the statistics from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database.
These statistics are for all patients diagnosed and reported. Several recent studies have looked at different racial survival statistics and have found a higher mortality in African-American women compared to white women in the same geographic area.
Managing And Preventing Cancer Pain
The right way to treat pain may depend on several factors related to your body and preferences, your cancer type, and the type and severity of your pain.
To make sure that your pain is properly managed, be open and direct with your care team and explain how you feel to the best of your ability. Your care team needs to know when you’re in pain and how severe it is. Identifying when, where and why the pain started may make it easier to treat it.
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What Are Breast Cancer Medical Treatments
Patients with breast cancer have many treatment options. Doctors adjust most treatments specifically to the type of cancer and the staging group. Treatment options undergo frequent adjustments, and your health care provider will have the information on the current standard of care available. Discusss treatment options with a health care team. The following are the basic treatment modalities used in the treatment of breast cancer.
Many women with breast cancer will require surgery. Broadly, the surgical therapies for breast cancer include breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy.
This surgery will only remove part of the breast . The size and location of the tumor determine the extent of the surgery.
In a lumpectomy, surgeons only remove the breast lump and some surrounding tissue. Medical professionals inspect the surrounding tissue for cancer cells. If no cancer cells are found, doctors call this “negative” or “clear margins.” Frequently, patients receive radiation therapy after lumpectomies.
During a mastectomy , all the breast tissue is removed. If immediate reconstruction is considered, surgeons sometimes perform a skin-sparing mastectomy. In this surgery, surgeons remove all the breast tissue, as well, but preserve the overlying skin. A nipple-sparing mastectomy keeps the skin of the breast, as well as the areola and nipple.
Modified radical mastectomy
What Are The Different Types Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer usually begins either in glands that produce milk , or the ducts that carry it to the nipple . It can grow larger in the breast and spread to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs.
The cancer may grow and invade other areas around your breast, such as your skin or chest wall. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Some take years to spread beyond your breast, while others grow and spread quickly.
There are several types of breast cancer, and they are broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive, . These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:
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What To Do If You Spot Symptoms
Anyone who notices a change in their breast that develops without a clear cause should see a doctor, especially if the changes affect only one breast. In many cases, routine screening will reveal any significant changes.
Breast cancer is highly treatable if diagnosis occurs in the early stages. Regular screening can help with this.
As of April 2019, the ACP make for screening for women with an average risk of breast cancer and other guidelines for those with a higher risk.
For those with an average risk:
Women ages 40â49 should ask their doctor about whether they should start having a routine mammogram.
Women aged 50â74 who have an average risk should have a mammogram every 2 years.
Women with an average risk should stop screening when they reach 75 years of age, or if they expect to live another 10 years or fewer.
Women of all ages with an average risk should not undergo clinical breast examination to screen for breast cancer.
Other organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, make different recommendations. Each person should ask their doctor for advice on the best strategy for them.
It is helpful for people to be aware of how their breasts feel so that they can get used to any regular changes that occur. If they notice anything unusual, they should see their doctor.
At their visit, the doctor may use one of the following methods:
Treatment Options For Metastatic Breast Cancer
Treatment for metastatic breast cancer often is based on systemic therapies, which use drugs rather than surgery or radiation. Metastases treatments are designed to shrink tumors and slow their growth, help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may change, such as when one therapy stops working, or the side effects become too uncomfortable. Rather than having only one treatment, most patients undergo several treatments combined to help fight the cancer.
The four broad categories of drug-based treatments are:
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Skin Changes With The Breast
Many people may experience subtle or very noticeable changes with the actual skin and appearance of the breast, when they are suffering from many different forms of breast cancer, and it can typically be one of the earliest signs of this type of cancer. The skin may begin to feel itchy, or the patient may experience a tingling sensation across the skin of the breast, along with a redness in color. With inflammatory breast cancer, swelling and a dimpled look to the skin may also occur, due to the blockage of the lymph nodes that may be caused by a tumor or a growth.
Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, and theyre broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive, or 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 determines your treatment options, as well as your likely long-term outcome.
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Less Common Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
| June 5, 2020 | Cancer, Mammograms
The term breast cancer is enough to fill a womans head with many thoughts. But what causes breast cancer? What symptoms and signs are associated with breast cancer? And what do you do if you find a lump in your breast?
Perhaps youre instantly reminded of a friend whos currently undergoing chemo or radiation. Or, you think back fondly to a relative who lost her battle to breast cancer. Perhaps youre thinking, Its about time I call for my first mammogram, or, I need to call to make an appointment for my yearly exam. As women, we know we need to call and have that yearly checkup. We also know how to self-check for lumps or other signs of obvious breast distress. What we may not know are the lesser-known signs of breast cancer. And one of the best ways to stop cancer in its tracks is to catch it early.
Read on to learn more about all of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and how to perform a thorough self-exam, and what to do if you find a lump in your breast.
Know The Breast Cancer Signs
Every womans body has a unique ebb and flow, and getting in tune with your own personal rhythm is invaluable for becoming aware of signs you have cancer. Paying close attention to any unusual changes that might be occurring, especially within breast tissue, is critical to avoiding breast cancer.
If you feel any unusual aches or pains in your breast, including occasional throbbing, pain, or even fluctuating discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider. Many women assume that only an isolated lump with localized pain suggests the presence of breast cancer. The truth is that breast cancer can manifest as scattered, seed-like tumors that, in some cases, spread like small tentacles throughout breast tissue.
Experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston warn that breast cancer often shows up without the classic breast cancer warning signs of lumps or redness. As mentioned above, other breast cancer symptoms in females can include swelling and irritation, dimpling, nipple discharge beyond normal lactation, nipple inversion, and/or a thickening and reddening of skin around the nipple. These are all potential early breast cancer signs you need to pay attention to in your body.
There are breast cancers that present as half a lump or there may be no lump at all, says Dr. Naoto Ueno, chief of Translational Breast Cancer Research at the Center, as quoted by CBS News. It could just be a strange-looking skin appearance or skin being red or dimpled.
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Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having any of these doesnt mean you will definitely develop the disease.
Some risk factors cant be avoided, such as family history. You can change other risk factors, such as quitting smoking, if you smoke. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
While there are risk factors you cant control, following a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and taking any preventive measures your doctor recommends can help reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated
If the tests find cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan to eradicate the breast cancer, to reduce the chance of cancer returning in the breast, as well as to reduce the chance of the cancer traveling to a location outside of the breast. Treatment generally follows within a few weeks after the diagnosis.
The type of treatment recommended will depend on the size and location of the tumor in the breast, the results of lab tests done on the cancer cells, and the stage, or extent, of the disease. Your doctor will usually consider your age and general health as well as your feelings about the treatment options.
Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her individual diagnosis.
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How To Check Your Breasts
Theres no special way to check your breasts and you do not need any training.
Checking your breasts is as easy as TLC:
- Touch your breasts: can you feel anything new or unusual?
- Look for changes: does anything look different to you?
- Check any new or unusual changes with a GP
Everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes.
Get used to checking regularly and be aware of anything thats new or different for you.
Check your whole breast area, including up to your collarbone and armpits.
Pain And Tenderness In The Armpit
According to studies, the first place breast cancer spreads to is the axillary lymph nodes .
The axillary lymph nodes indicate breast cancer in the same way the lymph nodes in the neck and throat indicate a flu, making the axillaries an essential place for onset discovery.
The journal of Clinical Oncology reported about the significance of axillary lymph node metastasis in primary breast cancer saying that axillary lymph node status is the single most important prognostic variable in the management of patients with primary breast cancer.7
The American Cancer Society says that sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.1 Therefore any pain or discomfort in the left or right armpit is something that should definitely be tested and you should also be aware of the other causes of armpit pain.
The first thing to do is to compare the painful armpit to the other armpit. If the difference is persistently evident, its worth consulting an expert.
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Breast Cancer And Shoulder Blade Pain
Some women may feel back pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades before any other sign of breast cancer reveals itself. The discomfort is usually attributed to muscle pain, inflammation of the spine or stretching the tendon and ligaments in the back.
Its important to know that tumors will sometimes develop deep within the breast tissue of the chest and felt in the spine or ribcage. There is also the possibility of metasis, a malignant spreading of the disease to the ribs or spine.
For example, The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports about a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and suffered from a severe back pain.5
The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reported that metastatic bone disease secondary to breast cancer is a common cause of low back pain. The report stressed the need for further imaging in patients with a history of breast cancer and whose physical examination and plain film radiographs are inconclusive or suspicious.6
Keep An Eye On Nipple Issues
Sometimes breast cancer can cause a nipple to invert or sink into the breast. A rare type called Paget disease also causes a rash on the nipple and areola.
Breast cancer can also sometimes cause fluid to leak from the nipples. This is not the same as the milky discharge from both breasts thats common if youre pregnant and for up to a year after youve stopped breastfeeding. Thyroid problems, pituitary tumors, and some medications can also cause nipple discharge.
What youre looking for here is clear or bloody fluid that may come from just one breast instead of both or is associated with a lump. If thats you, get yourself checked out ASAP.
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer rarely causes breast lumps and may not appear on a mammogram. Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, itchy breast that is tender to the touch
- The surface of the breast may take on a ridged or pitted appearance, similar to an orange peel
- Heaviness, burning, or aching in one breast
- One breast is visibly larger than the other
- Inverted nipple
- No mass is felt with a breast self-exam
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm and/or above the collarbone
- Symptoms unresolved after a course of antibiotics
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer usually does not cause a distinct lump in the breast. Therefore, a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer. Ultrasounds may also miss inflammatory breast cancer. However, the changes to the surface of the breast caused by inflammatory breast cancer can be seen with the naked eye.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer can develop rapidly, and the disease can progress quickly. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported to your doctor immediately.
For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, redness, swelling, itchiness and soreness are often signs of a breast infection such as mastitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. If you are not pregnant or nursing and you develop these symptoms, your doctor should test for inflammatory breast cancer.