A Change In Your Breast May Be An Early Sign Of Breast Cancer Heres What To Look For
Breast cancer affects approximately one in eight women in their lifetime. But today, breast cancer is becoming more and more treatable especially when its caught early.
There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for, says Mona Duncan, MD, general surgeon at Geisinger. Thats why its so important to go for your regular checkups and mammograms, and to perform monthly breast self-exams at home.Learn how to perform a breast self-exam.
Nipple Stimulation Can Induce Labor
Breast stimulation doesn’t just trigger a hormone release that amps up sexual pleasure. It also increases the production of the hormone oxytocin, which can bring on contractions in pregnant women. This could be why studies have shown that some women go into labor after their nipples are touched or played with.
In one 2015 study by Turkish researchers, pregnant women whose nipples were stimulated just before going into labor had shorter deliveries, with fewer complications, than those in a control group. And none of the women in the nipple-stimulation group needed an emergency C-section, compared to 8.5% of women in the control group.
Changes When You’re Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
When you get pregnant, it’s normal for your breasts to get larger and more tender, for your nipples to darken and blood vessels to become more visible, and for your breast tissue to get lumpier.
Cysts and other non-cancerous tumors can form or get larger during pregnancy. “The vast majority of lumps discovered by pregnant women are not cancer,” Peeke says. “But you can’t rule it out for sure, so you should still mention them to your doctor.”
Your breasts will likely swell and fill with milk a few days after you give birth. This can make them feel hard and tender. Breastfeeding can ease this feeling. If you opt to bottle-feed instead, your breasts should stop making milk after a few days.
If you are breastfeeding, you may get sore, cracked nipples or plugged milk ducts. It can lead to a painful infection called mastitis, which needs get treated with antibiotics.
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Areola Irregularities Can Be Signs Of Breast Cancer
Rony Kampalath, MD, is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and previously worked as a primary care physician. He is an assistant professor at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center, where he also practices. Within the practice of radiology, he specializes in abdominal imaging.
Areolas are;around the nipple in a circular area and are darker in color than the other skin of the breast. The areolas can vary in size and shape, including round or oval shapes. The skin of the areola is darker because;the ducts of the mammary glands are located under it. In women, the areolas indicate the location of the mammary gland ducts. Between 15-20 small openings are located around the nipple, from which milk is released during breastfeeding. The areola also contains “Montgomery glands” that are capable of producing milk, but aren’t the primary source of it. Additional glands in the areola produce oils that help lubricate the breasts during breastfeeding.;The areolas protect the breasts from irritation and cracking skin; this can be caused by saliva spread from an infant breastfeeding or from leftover milk residue.;
Beyond Lumps: Do You Know These Less Familiar Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
October 31, 2019 by Alissa McMillan
Its a proven fact that the earlier breast cancer is detected the more successful treatment often is. For that reason, women are strongly encouraged to have regularly scheduled mammograms. In addition, awareness campaigns about breast self-exams do a great job of educating women to check for any lumps in their breasts.;
However, there are other symptoms besides lumps that you should be aware of in your vigilance about breast cancer.;
The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a guidebook called Know the Symptoms that provides a helpful summary of changes in how your breasts look and feel that may indicate breast cancer, including the following:
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What To Do If You Spot A Possible Sign Of Breast Cancer
Dont panic. If you notice a change in your breast, it doesnt necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Some of these changes may be a result of benign, or non-cancerous, breast conditions, explains Dr. Duncan.
Still, if you notice any change at all, especially one occurring in only one breast, its a good idea to contact your doctor to get treatment started right away, if necessary.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
In general, any changes to the nipple and the areola that affect only one breast are more concerning than changes that affect both breasts. However, if you notice anything unusual about your nipples or areolas in one or both breasts, you should call your healthcare provider. A change in your nipples and areola is the thing to watch out for.
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After Losing A Breast To Cancer This Woman Is Making The Most Realistic Fake Nipples For Other Survivors
A breast cancer diagnosis marks the start of a long, emotional journey. The treatment process is oftentimes grueling and exhausting. And then the recovery process comes with its own unique set of challenges. For many women who end up needing mastectomies, recovering their self-image in addition to their physical health is incredibly difficult.
In 2010, Michelle Kolath-Arbel was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemotherapy and a one-sided mastectomy later that year, she was cancer free. She also had breast reconstruction surgery, and had the remaining healthy breast lifted to match. But the surgery still left her feeling completely uncomfortable in her own body. In the end, I was left with tons of scars, and one breast where I couldnt feel anything and no nipple, Kolath-Arbel tells SELF. She recalls sitting in the waiting room to see her plastic surgeon to ask about nipple reconstruction, and noticing a photo of a topless woman. The magazine used little stars to cover the nipples. It struck me that if you dont have nipples, its not sexy and it doesnt look like breasts, so you can put it in the double spread of the newspaper, she says. For her, like many other women in the same situation, losing a nipple meant losing an important piece that made her connect with her gender identity and sexuality.
Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Although most breast cancers begin as lumps or tumors, inflammatory breast cancer usually starts with a feeling of thickness or heaviness in the breast. You;also may develop red, inflamed skin on the breast. IBC tends to grow in the form of layers or sheets of tissue, which doctors sometimes call nests.
The breasts swell and become inflamed because the cancer cells clog the vessels that carry lymph. Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that transports white blood cells and removes bacteria and proteins from the tissues.
Common symptoms of IBC include:
- Redness of the breast: Redness involving part or all of the breast is a hallmark of inflammatory breast cancer. Sometimes the redness comes and goes.
- Swelling of the breast: Part of or all of the breast may be swollen, enlarged, and hard.
- Warmth: The breast may feel warm.
- Orange-peel appearance: Your breast may swell and start to look like the peel of a navel orange .
- Other skin changes: The skin of the breast might look pink or bruised, or you may have what looks like ridges, welts, or hives on your breast.
- Swelling of lymph nodes: The lymph nodes under your arm or above the collarbone may be swollen.
- Flattening or inversion of the nipple: The nipple may go flat or turn inward.
- Aching or burning: Your breast may ache or feel tender.
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Reducing The Risk Of Breast Cancer Including Paget’s Disease Of The Nipple
Modifying certain lifestyle factors, such as;reducing the amount of alcohol you drink and making sure you exercise regularly, may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
In some areas, women aged 47 to 49 and 71 to 73 are also invited for screening as part of a study looking at whether the age range for breast screening should be extended.
Page last reviewed: 22 October 2019 Next review due: 22 October 2022
Does A Breast Tattoo Hurt
Breast numbness after a mastectomy is common, so most people feel little to no pain when getting a nipple tattoo after a mastectomy.
Mastectomy significantly reduces sensation in the breasts, as nerves are cut during the surgery. If you have nipple reconstruction, your new nipple wont have any sensation.
Women with implants also experience less sensation, even if they have a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy.
How much a nipple tattoo hurts, if at all, varies from person to person. Everyone is different.
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer Pictures: Itchy Breasts Rash Bruise
Some signs and symptoms of IBC resemble other inflammatory breast diseases like rashes, red spots, marks or bruised boobs. But non IBC situations can be covered up by using antibiotics. with the help of images below it is easy to differentiate ;among the symptoms and consult the physician to perform necessary diagnostic tests for IBC.
You Notice Changes That Aren’t Related To Your Boobs At All
Back pain, neck pain, and unexplained weight loss were all listed as other breast cancer symptoms that led women to seek medical care and ultimately get diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology.
That’s because breast cancer can spread before it’s caught, causing symptoms in body parts that have nothing to do with your boobs. It’s not possible to identify every possible sign of breast cancer so when it comes to early detection, you are your own best weapon, says Dr. Denduluri. Overall, any persistent, noticeable change should be checked by a doctor.
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Nipple And Areola Reconstruction
The nipple and areola are usually the final phase of breast reconstruction. This is a separate surgery done to make the reconstructed breast look more like the original breast. It can be done as an outpatient procedure. Its usually done about 3 to 4 months after surgery after the new breast has had time to heal.
Ideally, nipple and areola reconstruction tries to match the position, size, shape, texture, color, and projection of the new nipple to the natural one . Tissue used to rebuild the nipple and areola comes from the newly created breast or, less often, from skin from another part of your body . If a woman wants to match the color of the nipple and areola of the other breast, tattooing may be done a few months after the surgery.
Some women opt to have just the tattoo, without nipple and areola reconstruction. A skilled plastic surgeon or other professional may be able to use pigment in shades that make the flat tattoo look 3-dimensional.
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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Breast Reconstruction After A Mastectomy
After cancerous breast tissue is removed, you may be thinking about restoring your breasts shape. People who have had a mastectomy often want to restore the breast mound, but its also not uncommon to skip the restoration and go flat instead.
If you decide to go with reconstruction, know that you dont have to do so right away. You can put off reconstruction for days, months, or even years. In fact, if youre undergoing any other breast cancer treatments, like radiation or chemotherapy, you may decide to postpone reconstruction until those treatments are done.
Reconstruction has several forms. Some people may opt for a full silicone implant for their breast reconstruction. In other cases, a plastic surgeon may be able to use body fat, muscle, and tissue from another part of your body to rebuild a breast. Nipple reconstruction is also possible for some people.
Invasive Breast Cancer Symptoms
Most breast cancers start in the ducts, or the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, or in the lobules, the little clusters of sacs where breast milk is made. Invasive breast cancer refers to breast cancer that spreads from the original site to other areas of the breast, the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. In these cancers that form in the ducts or lobules, invasive ductal carcinoma ;or invasive lobular carcinoma , the cancer spreads from the ducts or lobules to other tissue. Depending on the stage, you may notice symptoms.
Invasive breast cancer symptoms may include:
- A lump or mass in the breast
- Swelling of all or part of the breast, even if no lump is felt
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- A lump or swelling in the underarm lymph nodes
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Areolas And Breast Cancer
Areolas can change in color or size for many reasons, many of which are completely harmless. However, some changes are indicative of breast cancer. Knowing the different causes and expected changes can help you identify irregularities that might signal something more serious.
Every person has very different nipples and areolas, so do not try to compare yours to others as a sign of health or the presence of conditions. Instead, look for these signals:
Be Aware Of Your Breasts To Detect Breast Cancer Symptoms Early
Studies show that regular breast self-exams are not the best way to detect breast cancer early.
What does work? Being aware of how your breasts look and feel and seeing a doctor as soon as you notice changes or abnormalities.
The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activities like showering, applying deodorant or even scratching, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center.
Bevers advises women to see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, no matter how mild they may seem.
You dont need to wait for any particular size or severity of symptoms to get checked out, she says. “The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the better our chances of treating it successfully.”
And you shouldnt ignore symptoms just because you breasts don’t hurt. Pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, she says.;
The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activitieslike showering, applying deodorant or even scratching.
Therese Bevers, M.D.
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‘my Dog Found My Cancer’
I had just been to the ob-gyn for my annual check-up and breast exam, and got the ‘all okay.’ Soon after, my little dog Zoe climbed up on me and started pawing at a specific part of my breast. Little alarms went off in my head, telling me to pay attention. It was like a slow-motion movie. I pushed her off and thats when I found a little round BB-sized lump. After a mammogram that didnt show anything, and a sonogram that found the lump, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Its so important to listen to the messages our bodies are telling us.
Christine Egan, author of The Healthy Girls Guide to Breast Cancer, Bayport, New York
Healthy Vs Unhealthy Nipple
The change of nipple colour is not regular under the following circumstances:
- If the colour change is occurring on one side of the nipple.
- If it is unevenly distributed on both sides.
- If it happens even when youre not pregnant.
- If your nipple colour has suddenly changed and you are unaware of the cause.
- If there is a bloody discharge from your nipple.
If any of the above changes are seen in your body, you should definitely consult a doctor.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:;
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
- A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- A change in the colour of the breast the breast may look red or inflamed
- A nipple change, for example it has become pulled in
- Rash or crusting around the nipple
- Unusual liquid from either nipple
- Changes in size or shape of the breast
On its own, pain in your breasts is not usually a sign of breast cancer. But look out for pain in your breast or armpit thats there all or almost all the time.
Although rare, men can ger breast cancer. The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a lump in the chest area.