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What Body Systems Are Affected By Breast Cancer

Limitations Of The Study

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There are a number of limitations in the current research that need to be consider. Firstly, data were only collected via self-report measures of the women, and secondly sample size of the women only who had undergone mastectomy was small because most of the patients prefer to go to the hospitals in the big cities like Kayseri and Ankara near the province of Sivas/Turkey.

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.

Who Gets Soft Tissue Cancers

Soft tissue cancers can develop at any age, however they occur more often in children and young adults, and adults over the age of 55. Rhabdomyosarcoma, cancer of the skeletal muscles, is the most common soft tissue cancer in children. Soft tissue cancers in adults most often arise from fat and fibrous tissue such as tendons and the fibers covering bones and other organs.

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Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Metastatic Breast Cancer

The most common parts of the body where breast cancer tends to spread are the bones, lungs, brain, and liver. But metastatic breast cancer can affect other parts of the body, as well.

Metastatic breast cancer symptoms can be very different depending on the cancers location, but may include:

  • back, bone, or joint pain that does not go away

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    difficulty urinating , which can be a sign that the cancer is pinching nerves in your back

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    numbness or weakness anywhere in your body

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • abdominal bloating, pain, or tenderness

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    constant nausea, vomiting, or weight loss

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  • vision problems

  • biopsy of any suspicious area

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    a tap, removal of fluid from the area with symptoms to check for cancer cells a pleural tap removes fluid between the lung and chest wall a spinal tap removes fluid from around the spinal cord and a tap of fluid in the abdomen removes fluid in the abdominal cavity

These tests may also be used if you have no history of breast cancer and your doctor is having trouble determining the cause of your symptoms.

A biopsy may be done to determine these factors that can influence your treatment, which will be listed in your pathology report. Learn more about Understanding Your Pathology Report.

Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer

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Breast changes are investigated through a series of tests organised by your doctor or specialist. Most breast changes are diagnosed as benign . If your tests show that you may have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will advise you about treatment options.

Initial tests you may have include:

  • physical examination breasts and armpits are examined
  • diagnostic mammogram an x-ray of the breast tissue
  • ultrasound a device that uses sound waves to scan the breast.

If further tests are required, one or more procedures may be used, including:

  • Fine needle aspiration a very narrow needle is used to withdraw cells from the testing area.
  • Core biopsy a larger needle is used to take a tissue sample for testing.
  • Open biopsy surgery is performed under general anaesthetic to remove the whole area for testing.
  • Hormone tests if a cancer is found, it can be checked for special markers called hormone receptors to see if it will respond to hormone treatment.
  • Ductogram or discharge test this is for breast cancers that are causing a discharge from the nipple.

Other tests may include blood tests, bone scans and chest x-rays. Test results can take a few days to come back. It is very natural to feel anxious while waiting to get your results. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you are feeling. You can also contact the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 and speak with a cancer nurse.

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How And Where Are Blood Cells Are Made

Your body makes blood cells in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft inner part of your bones. You make blood cells in a controlled way, as your body needs them.

All blood cells start as the same type of cell, called a stem cell. In adults, there are blood stem cells in the bone marrow, inside the skull, ribs, sternum , spine and pelvis.

Changes To Your Body After Surgery

Most women have surgery as part of their treatment. The first time you look at your body after the operation can be difficult. After surgery your breast/chest area is likely to be bruised and swollen, but this will improve over time.

For some women, surgery doesnt affect how they feel about themselves, but many others find the changes more difficult to accept. Your confidence and self-esteem may be affected and you may feel unfeminine or unattractive.

Some women feel lop-sided or incomplete. You may feel very self-conscious, for example if youre in a communal changing room, particularly at first.

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Living With Breast Cancer

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can affect daily life in many ways, depending on what stage it’s at and the treatment you will have.

How people cope with the diagnosis and treatment varies from person to person. There are several forms of support available, if you need it.

Forms of support may include:

  • family and friends, who can be a powerful support system
  • communicating with other people in the same situation
  • finding out as much as possible about your condition
  • not trying to do too much or overexerting yourself
  • making time for yourself

Find out more about living with breast cancer.

Can I Be Screened For Breast Cancer

Your Body and You – Breast Cancer

BreastScreen Australia offers a free screening program for women at risk of breast cancer:

  • If youre aged between 50 and 74 years, youll be invited to access a free mammograms every 2 years. This is because nearly 4 in 5 breast cancers occur in women aged over 50.
  • If youre aged between 40 and 49 years or over 75 years, you are also eligible but wont be contacted about it.
  • Women under 40 years of age are usually not offered breast screening because the density of their breast tissue makes it harder to detect cancers on mammograms.

Younger women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or women with breast cancer diagnosed in the last 5 years may also benefit from breast screening. For more details, call BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50 or visit their website.

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Less Common Treatment Effects

Radiation therapy. In some cases it can cause pulmonary fibrosis, which scars your lung tissue. You might notice:

These symptoms typically show up 2-3 months after your treatment ends. It may first look like pneumonia, but antibiotics wonât help. Your doctor may prescribe steroids to treat your symptoms.

Chemotherapy. Certain chemo drugs can lead to heart problems, especially if you had existing heart problems. Other possible side effects of chemo include:

  • Hot flashes and irregular or missed periods
  • Foggy thinking
  • Consistent numbness, pain, or tingling in fingers or toes
  • Weight gain

Hormone therapy. If you have a type of tumor called estrogen receptive, you might get hormone therapy drugs. Many of them can lead to weaker bones . One drug, tamoxifen, may raise your risk for serious medical issues like stroke, blood clots, and uterine cancer. Tamoxifen also may cause:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes

Each woman responds differently to their breast cancer and treatments. Itâs a good idea to keep track of your experience and update your doctors about your side effects. The sooner theyâre aware, the better they can help you get your symptoms under control.

How Else Can I Reduce My Risk For Cancer

The following may help reduce the risk of developing cancer:

  • Choose a healthy diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and eat less red and processed meats. These actions may reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer as well as other diseases.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not smoke. If you currently smoke, quit. Avoid exposure to second hand smoke. For more information on quitting smoking, visit the NYS Smoker’s Quitline at or call 1-866-NY-QUITS.
  • Talk with your health care provider about recommended cancer screenings.

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When Should I See My Doctor

See your doctor or healthcare professional if you notice symptoms of possible breast cancer, such as a lump, pain, itch, nipple discharge or dimpling, or if you have any concerns about your breast cancer risk.

Your doctor or healthcare professional will assess you and work out if you need further tests. If required, they can refer you to a local service and provide necessary follow-up care.

About Metastatic Breast Cancer

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Cancer begins when healthy cells change and grow out of control, forming a mass or sheet of cells called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread.When breast cancer is limited to the breast and/or nearby lymph node regions, it is called early stage or locally advanced. Read about these stages in a different guide on Cancer.Net. When breast cancer spreads to an area farther from where it started to another part of the body, doctors say that the cancer has metastasized. They call the area of spread a metastasis, or use the plural of metastases if the cancer has spread to more than 1 area. The disease is called metastatic breast cancer. Another name for metastatic breast cancer is “stage IV breast cancer if it has already spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis of the original cancer.

Doctors may also call metastatic breast cancer advanced breast cancer. However, this term should not be confused with locally advanced breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body.

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If Your Breast Cancer Has Spread

Even if your breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body, it does not necessarily mean its not treatable. If the cancer cannot be removed, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms, improve quality of life and extend survival.

Some women live with breast cancer for several years as they learn to adjust and accept that theyll be on treatment for an indefinite period of time, explains Dr. Roesch. Your cancer team will help you learn and cope with what you can expect on this journey.

How Is Breast Cancer Treated

Depending on the features of the breast cancer, there are several treatment options.


This treatment involves removing localised cancer from the breast. A lumpectomy involves removing the cancer and some healthy tissue but keeping the breast intact. A mastectomy involves removing the whole breast affected by cancer. During breast surgery, lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.

Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy is often used to destroy any breast cancer cells left following a lumpectomy or lymph node removal. It is sometimes used after a mastectomy if there is a risk of cancer recurring in the chest area.


Chemotherapy involves using anti-cancer drugs to kill the remaining cancer cells in the body. It may be used before or after surgery or radiation therapy, or together with radiation therapy.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy involves drugs that reduce your bodys oestrogen and progesterone levels, to stop or slow hormone receptor positive cancer cells.

Palliative care

In some cases, the medical team will talk to a patient about palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve your quality of life by alleviating symptoms of cancer.

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Changes In The Breast:

The primary change you will notice is a change in the breast. It majorly starts with one breast. A mass or lump formation takes place, which results in an irregular shape. In this stage, it is painless. Invasive ductal carcinoma is responsible for bump and lump formation in the breast. It is the type of cancer that takes place inside the milk duct. Apart from it, invasive lobular carcinoma contributes to breast thickening. This takes place in the glands responsible for producing breast milk.

Some changes will be noticed in the shape and size of the breast, along with color.

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Body Position In Breast Cancer Therapy Matters

Breast cancer is a condition that is majorly noticed in females and really in males. A lump formation will take place in any or both of the breasts, which contributes to different changes. A person suffering from breast cancer notices different changes in their body, which let them get in touch with the doctor.

Here we are exploring search changes so that you can understand about it, and if you are facing the same, dealing with the problems will be quite effortless for you.

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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:

What Are The Treatments For Breast Cancer

Treatments for breast cancer include:

  • Surgery such as
  • A mastectomy, which removes the whole breast
  • A lumpectomy to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy, which blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
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    Treatment For Breast Cancer

    Treatment options for breast cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Usually, more than one is used. Treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to the treatment for breast cancer in women.

    Treatment depends on several factors, including:

    • whether you have had your menopause
    • the type of breast cancer you have
    • the size of your breast tumour in relation to your breast
    • the stage of your breast cancer
    • the grade of your cancer cells
    • the results of tests on your cancer cells
    • your age, general health and personal preferences.

    Your Body After Breast Cancer Treatment

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    Breast cancer and its treatments can cause changes to your body and the way you look.

    For example, after surgery youll be left with a scar or scars. You may have lost your hair if you had chemotherapy. Many people also put on weight during or after treatment.

    Even though many of the effects of treatment can be temporary, they can still be very upsetting and have an important effect on how you see your body, not least because they can be an outward sign of having cancer.

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    Where Is The First Place Breast Cancer Spreads

    The first place that breast cancer commonly spreads to outside the breast are the lymph nodes in the armpit . Surgery is usually needed to remove one or more lymph nodes to help check for breast cancer spread. This operation to remove lymph nodes in the armpit is known as axillary surgery.

    Breast cancer found in the lymph nodes will impact the breast cancers staging, and the treatment plan will often be affected as well.

    If cancer is found in the lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that cells have travelled through the lymphatic system and bloodstream to spread to other parts of the body. In this instance, treatment with systemic therapies, such as chemotherapy, is likely to be recommended.

    If cancer is found in a large number of axillary nodes, radiotherapy may also be recommended to kill any breast cancer cells that remain in the armpit but cannot be removed by surgery.

    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.

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