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What Do I Need To Know About Breast Cancer

Can Cancer Form In Other Parts Of The Breast

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Cancers can also form in other parts of the breast, but these types of cancer are less common. These can include:

  • Angiosarcomas. This type of cancer begins in the cells that make up the lining of blood or lymph vessels. These cancers can start in breast tissue or breast skin. They are rare.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer is rare and different from other types of breast cancer. It is caused by obstructive cancer cells in the skins lymph vessels.
  • Paget disease of the breast, also known as Paget disease of the nipple. This cancer affects the skin of the nipple and areola .
  • Phyllodes tumors. These are rare, and most of these masses are not cancer. However, some are cancerous. These tumors begin in the breasts connective tissue, which is called the stroma.

Effect On Black Women

Many Black women do not present with any symptoms of breast cancer. Subtle signs like a darkening of the breasts or dimpling of the skin may be warning signs of breast cancer, but Black women tend to have denser breast tissue, which may mask these signs.

To stay on top of your breast health, its important to:

Know The Risk Factors

Younger women may have a higher risk for developing breast cancer with the following risk factors:

  • Certain inherited genetic mutations for breast cancer
  • A personal history of breast cancer before age 40
  • Two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer diagnosed at an early age
  • High-dose radiation to the chest
  • Early onset of menstrual periods
  • First full-term pregnancy when you are over 30 years old
  • Dense breasts
  • High intake of red meat and poor diet
  • Race
  • Personal history of endometrium, ovary, or colon cancer
  • Recent oral contraceptive use

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Swelling In Or Around Your Breast Collarbone Or Armpit

Swelling in these areas can occur for many reasons but may indicate cancer. Breast swelling can be caused by certain types of breast cancer. Swelling or lumps around your collarbone or armpits can be caused by breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in those areas. The swelling can occur even before you can feel a lump in your breast. If you have swelling, be sure to let your health care team know as soon as possible.

If You Are Age 55 Or Over:

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Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.

Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.

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Vanatchanan/shutterstocksome Men Can Benefit From Breast Cancer Screenings

Experts dont recommend routine breast cancer screenings for men in general however, for those who are at a high risk of the diseasethey have a personal or family history, or a confirmed genetic markerregular screenings may make sense, Dr. Mortimer says. A study published in Radiology found that male breast cancer screening in high-risk patients yielded a cancer-detection rate of about 18 diagnoses per 1,000 examinations.

Chinnapong/shutterstockevery Breast Lump Should Be Evaluated By A Doctor

The bottom line is that any mass in a breast, male or female, needs to be taken seriously and evaluated by a doctor, says Joanne Mortimer, MD, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center in Duarte, California. Men need to be encouraged to take their health seriously, Dr. OHea says. Regardless of cancer, all men can benefit from increased awareness of their body.

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A History Of Breast Cancer Or Breast Lumps

Women who have had breast cancer before are more likely to have it again, compared with those who have no history of the disease.

Having some types of benign, or non-cancerous breast lumps increases the chance of developing cancer later on. Examples include atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.

Five Things You Need To Know About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Type and Stage: What You Need to Know

Apart from confirming metastatic breast cancer signs, breast cancer is first recognized when there is a lump, a change in the breast or something abnormal is detected on a mammogram test. It is one of the most common types of cancer seen in women, after skin cancer. The cases of HER2 breast cancer are also on the rise.

Listed below are five things you need to know about breast cancer.

  • It is not only a womans syndrome: Breast cancer is not only a womans but also a mans disease as well. It is a quite rare case in men, but it is possible for a man to be diagnosed with it.
  • It may not start with a lump: The most common type of breast cancer develops as a tumor and creates a lump in the breasts. But sometimes it may happen that a lump doesnt form in the breast.
  • Be aware, it can help to recognize the cancer: Monthly self-examination of the breasts is necessary to check for lumps, swelling, red skin, itchiness, change in nipple or pain. It is the best tool for self-assessing any symptoms of breast cancer.
  • Mammograms are not infallible, but they can be useful: Mammogram test is the only method to pick up the earliest signs of breast cancer that may be developing. It may sometimes give unclear results and might need a second round of checking.
  • Genetic changes not a common cause of breast cancer: If the family carries such genetics, it is necessary to talk to a doctor before considering anything. Genetics is not a necessary condition for this type of cancer.

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Signs Of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Despite initial treatment and success, breast cancer can sometimes come back. This is called recurrence. Recurrence happens when a small number of cells escape the initial treatment.

Symptoms of a recurrence in the same place as the first breast cancer are very similar to symptoms of the first breast cancer. They include:

  • a new breast lump
  • redness or swelling of the breast
  • a new thickening near the mastectomy scar

If breast cancer comes back regionally, it means that the cancer has returned to the lymph nodes or near to the original cancer but not exactly the same place. The symptoms may be slightly different.

Symptoms of a regional recurrence may include:

  • lumps in your lymph nodes or near the collarbone
  • chest pain
  • 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 of stages.

The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk with your doctor about when you should start scheduling regular mammograms.

Vitaly Karyakin /shutterstock Men Also Worry About How They Look After The Disease

In a world in which a mans appearance is increasingly importantand where it is common for men to be seen without a shirt in the gym or on the beacheffects of breast cancer, including mastectomy scars, can have serious effects on a male survivors mental health, says Rachel Rabinovitch, MD, a breast cancer specialist at the CU Cancer Center and professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Yet while women have lots of support in this area, these psychosocial factors are often overlooked in men, she adds. Men facing this issue should talk to their caregivers about therapy and potential cosmetic solutions, she says.

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What Are Some Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Every woman should know how her breasts normally look and feel, so she can recognize any changes that may occur. While knowing what to look for is important, a woman should still get her regular mammograms and clinical breast exams, as these tests can help detect breast cancer before she even has symptoms, said Tuite.

Signs of breast cancer may include:

  • Lump in the breast or underarm
  • Swelling or thickening of all or part of the breast
  • Dimpling or skin irritation of breast skin
  • Localized, persistent breast pain
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast

Breast Cancer Risk Factors You Can Control

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  • Physical activity. The less you move, the higher your chances.
  • Weight and diet. Being overweight after menopause raises your odds.
  • Alcohol. Regular drinking — especially more than one drink a day — increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Reproductive history.
  • You donât have a full-term pregnancy.
  • Taking hormones. Your chances can go up if you:
  • Use hormone replacement therapy that includes both estrogen and progesterone during menopause for more than 5 years. This increase in breast cancer risk returns to normal 5 years after you stop treatment.
  • Use certain birth control methods including birth control pills, shots, implants, IUDS, skin patches, or vaginal rings that contain hormones.
  • Still, most women who are at high risk for breast cancer donât get it. On the other hand, 75% of women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors. Learn more about the risk factors for breast cancer.

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    Santypan/shutterstocktreatment For Male Breast Cancer Can Be Different

    Even though the different types of breast cancer largely are the same in both men and women, the standard treatments are very different, according to a study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics. The first treatment of choice for a lump in a womans breast is often a lumpectomy, or surgical removal of the lump and surrounding tissue, and radiation. However, this is often not an option for men as they dont have much breast tissue to begin with most men opt for a mastectomy, Dr. OHea says.

    Who Is More Likely To Get It

    • Breast cancer is most common in middle-aged and older women.
    • Women aged 45 to 54 make up nearly 20% of new cases. Women aged 55 to 74 make up 51% of new cases.
    • The rate of new cases of breast cancer is highest in white women, followed by African American women. Breast cancer death rates are highest for African American women40% higher than for white women.

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    Do My Receptors Suggest I Need Chemotherapy

    Once a breast biopsy is found to be cancerous, the pathologists will automatically run more tests on the same tissue to determine what receptors are expressed. This information is critical in guiding what further therapies may be needed before or after surgery, such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. Learn more about My Tumor Receptors with our video lesson on the subject. You should be engaged with this aspect of your cancer care from the outset.

    Know It’s Ok To Ask Questions

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    Ask questions! You should be an active participant in your care. Your medical team should explain to you any medical terms you do not understand, explain your treatment choices, possible side effects, and expected outcome. Ask for references to additional specialists you can talk to so you can learn more about your breast cancer. If you have not yet been diagnosed with breast cancer but are at high risk, ask your doctors about testing and any preventive measures you can take.

    Also don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for support. Seek support groups with other people who are going through what you are, or who have gone through it. Bring a close friend or family member to your appointments to both take notes, or record your visit, and to encourage you to request clarification if anything is unclear. Express your feelings and concerns.

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    How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed

    During your regular physical examination, your doctor will take a thorough personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform and/or order one or more of the following:

    • Breast examination: During the breast exam, the doctor will carefully feel the lump and the tissue around it. Breast cancer usually feels different than benign lumps.
    • Digital mammography: An X-ray test of the breast can give important information about a breast lump. This is an X-ray image of the breast and is digitally recorded into a computer rather than on a film. This is generally the standard of care .
    • Ultrasonography: This test uses sound waves to detect the character of a breast lump whether it is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass . This may be performed along with the mammogram.

    Based on the results of these tests, your doctor may or may not request a biopsy to get a sample of the breast mass cells or tissue. Biopsies are performed using surgery or needles.

    After the sample is removed, it is sent to a lab for testing. A pathologist a doctor who specializes in diagnosing abnormal tissue changes views the sample under a microscope and looks for abnormal cell shapes or growth patterns. When cancer is present, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is and whether it has spread beyond the ducts or lobules .

    Changes In The Size And Shape Of The Breast

    Its not uncommon for breasts to swell, and you may notice a change in size around the time of your menstrual cycle.

    Swelling can also cause breast tenderness, and it may be slightly uncomfortable to wear a bra or lie down on your stomach. This is perfectly normal and rarely indicative of breast cancer.

    But while your breasts may undergo certain changes at different times of the month, you shouldnt overlook some changes. If you notice your breasts swelling at times other than your menstrual cycle, or if only one breast is swollen, talk to your doctor.

    In cases of normal swelling, both breasts remain symmetrical. That means one wont suddenly be larger or more swollen than the other.

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    A Lump In Your Breast

    A lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Lumps are often hard and painless, although some are painful. However, not all lumps are cancer. Benign breast conditions that can also cause lumps.

    Still, its important to have your doctor check out any new lump or mass right away. If it does turn out to be cancer, the sooner its diagnosed the better.

    If You Have A Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer

    3 Things You Need to Know about Breast Cancer, Courtesy of ...

    Routine breast cancer screening is important for anyone with breasts, but even more so for those at higher risk. Work with your doctor to look at your individual risk factors and discuss what screening tests are right for you. If you and your doctor find that you have a higher risk of breast cancer, you may need to be screened earlier and more often than average. You might also benefit from breast MRI screening along with regular mammograms.

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    Does A Benign Breast Condition Mean That I Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer

    Benign breast conditions rarely increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women have biopsies that show a condition called hyperplasia . This condition increases your risk only slightly.

    When the biopsy shows hyperplasia and abnormal cells, which is a condition called atypical hyperplasia, your risk of breast cancer increases somewhat more. Atypical hyperplasia occurs in about 5% of benign breast biopsies.

    Breast Cancer Types And Symptoms

    There are several kinds of breast cancer. Many of them share symptoms.

    Symptoms of ductal carcinoma

    This is the most common type of breast cancer. It begins in your ducts. About 1 in 5 new breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ . This means you have cancer in the cells that line your ducts, but it hasnât spread into nearby tissue.

    You may not notice any symptoms of ductal carcinoma. It can also cause a breast lump or bloody discharge.

    Symptoms of lobular carcinoma

    This kind begins in the glands that make milk, called lobules. Itâs the second most common type of breast cancer. Symptoms include:

    • Fullness, thickening, or swelling in one area
    • Nipples that are flat or point inward

    Symptoms of invasive breast cancer

    Breast cancer thatâs spread from where it began into the tissues around it is called invasive or infiltrating. You may notice:

    • A lump in your breast or armpit. You might not be able to move it separately from your skin or move it at all.
    • One breast that looks different from the other
    • A rash or skin thatâs thick, red, or dimpled like an orange
    • Skin sores
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Muscle weakness

    Symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer

    Breast cancer is called triple-negative if it doesnât have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and doesnât make a lot of a protein called HER2. This kind tends to grow and spread faster than other types, and doctors treat it differently.

    Symptoms of male breast cancer

    • A small, hard cyst

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