What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
What Tests Do Physicians Use To Diagnose Breast Cancer
Although the above signs and symptoms can diagnose breast cancer, the use of screening mammography has made it possible to detect many of the cancers early before they cause any symptoms.
The American Cancer Society has the following recommendations for breast cancer screenings:
Women should have the choice to begin annual screening between 40-44 years of age. Women age 45 and older should have a screening mammogram every year until age 54. Women 55 years of age and older should have biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually. Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.
Mammograms are a very good tool for breast cancer screening. As with any test, mammograms have limitations and will miss some cancers. Patients should discuss their family history and mammogram and breast exam results with their health care provider.
The ACS does not recommend clinical screening exams in women of any age.
Women at high risk should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderate risk should talk to their doctor about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram.
What Is Breast Cancer Awareness Pinkwashing And What Can You Do To Prevent It
Every Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a tidal wave of pink merchandise hits stores with everything from curling irons to bagels to jewelry purporting to support the breast cancer cause. However, many of these products do nothing for the cause beyond slapping a pink ribbon on the packaging. This is what we in the breast cancer community call pinkwashing, or basically exploiting the breast cancer cause for profit or PR purposes.
This is hurtful to many breast cancer patients as we are consistently seeing our trauma being used to as a way increase sales and not to support those that are suffering and dying within the breast cancer community. If you see an item that claims to benefit breast cancer, ask what organization benefits, how much is being donated, and where the funds are going. If you are not satisfied with the answer, dont buy the product, and call the company out.
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Tests To Determine Specific Types Of Treatment
You’ll also need tests that show whether the cancer will respond to specific types of treatment. The results of these tests can give your doctors a more complete picture of the type of cancer you have and how best to treat it. The types of test you could be offered are discussed below.
In some cases, breast cancer cells can be stimulated to grow by hormones that occur naturally in your body, such as oestrogen and progesterone.
If this is the case, the cancer may be treated by stopping the effects of the hormones, or by lowering the level of these hormones in your body. This is known as “hormone therapy”.
During a hormone receptor test, a sample of cancer cells will be taken from your breast and tested to see if they respond to either oestrogen or progesterone. If the hormone is able to attach to the cancer cells , they’re known as “hormone receptor positive”.
While hormones can encourage the growth of some types of breast cancer, other types are stimulated by a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 .
These types of cancer can be diagnosed using a HER2 test, and treated with medication to block the effects of HER2. This is known as “biological” or “targeted” therapy.
Relationships With Friends And Family
It’s not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, don’t be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you need.
Want to know more?
- Healthtalkonline: How breast cancer affects families
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Vitamins To Avoid During Radiation Therapy
Your radiation oncologist may tell you to avoid taking certain antioxidant vitamin supplements, such as vitamins C, A, D, and E, while you’re having radiation therapy. These vitamins might interfere with radiation’s ability to destroy cancer cells.This is because radiation works in part by creating free radicals highly energized molecules that damage cancer cells. Free radicals in the environment can damage all cells, but in the case of radiation treatment they are focused on the cancer cells. Antioxidants help keep free radicals from forming or neutralize them if they do form.
Because of the potential conflict between the goal of radiation therapy and the goal of antioxidants , it makes sense to stop taking any antioxidant supplements during radiation therapy. When radiation is finished, you can resume taking your supplements.
Throughout your treatment, do your best to eat a well-balanced diet that contains all of the vitamins you need. Vitamins that come naturally from food are unlikely to interfere with treatment.
What Are The Chances Of Survival
It’s normal to wonder how long you might live. Doctors use the term “relative survival rate” to predict what percentage of people with certain stages of breast cancer will live for 5 years, compared to peers who don’t have breast cancer.
The 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer are:
- 99% for early-stage cancers
- 86% for cancer that has spread in the area of the original tumor
- 27% for cancers that have spread to other parts of the body
These numbers are based on research done on large groups of people with breast cancer. Your survival rate could be different based on things like your age, health, and how well your cancer responds to treatment.
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What Is Stage Iii Breast Cancer
In stage III breast cancer, the cancer has spread further into the breast or the tumor is a larger size than earlier stages. It is divided into three subcategories.
Stage IIIA is based on one of the following:
- With or without a tumor in the breast, cancer is found in four to nine nearby lymph nodes.
- A breast tumor is larger than 50 millimeters, and the cancer has spread to between one and three nearby lymph nodes.
In stage IIIB, a tumor has spread to the chest wall behind the breast. In addition, these factors contribute to assigning this stage:
- Cancer may also have spread to the skin, causing swelling or inflammation.
- It may have broken through the skin, causing an ulcerated area or wound.
- It may have spread to as many as nine underarm lymph nodes or to nodes near the breastbone.
In stage IIIC, there may be a tumor of any size in the breast, or no tumor present at all. But either way, the cancer has spread to one of the following places:
- ten or more underarm lymph nodes
- lymph nodes near the collarbone
- some underarm lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breastbone
- the skin
Caretakers Deserve Care Too
If someone in your life is diagnosed with breast cancer, its normal to want to do everything you can to support them. Thats a great impulse, and your loved one deserves all the care and support you can offer. But in looking out for your loved ones, dont forget to care for yourself.
A breast cancer diagnosis doesnt just affect the mental health of the person with cancer it can also have a serious effect on the mental health of family and friends. One study revealed that men whose partners had breast cancer were at an increased risk of hospitalization for an affective disorder like depression subsequent to the diagnosis. While its easy to feel that you dont deserve support since youre not the one with the diagnosis, thats simply untrue: taking care of yourself makes you better able to care for your loved ones.
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Key Points To Remember
- Chemotherapy is sometimes used after surgery for early-stage breast cancer to help lower the chances that your breast cancer will come back.
- Some types of cancer have a very small chance of coming back. Women who have these types of cancer may not need chemo. There are gene tests that may show whether having chemo will help you reduce your chances that the cancer will return.
- Your age, type of cancer, tumour size, and hormone receptor status have an effect on how well chemo will work to keep your cancer from coming back.
- Different medicines used for chemo have different side effects. Your doctor can give you other medicines to help you deal with side effects like nausea and vomiting. Some women are bothered a lot by the side effects, but some aren’t.
Empowering You Against Cancer
LifeClinic Cancer Care was formed out of a need to improve the patients experience in their fight against cancer and increase their odds of beating it. We incorporate all of our holistic cancer treatments and services under one roof ensuring a continuity and constancy of care, with the focus on guiding and supporting the patient through their journey.
Find The Root Cause
Identify causes and triggers
We identify the causes, triggers and imbalances in the body which may have contributed to the cancer developing in the first instance. We then address these imbalances to increase the chance of treatment success and reduce the chance of it recurring somewhere else.
Promote healing with minimal side effects
Many patients are afraid of the potential side-effects of standard conventional options, and prefer, if they can, to take the natural path. We advise them on which approach is best for their specific case, and guide them through their diet, supplements and nontoxic therapies.
Treatment That Works For You
We help patients and their loved ones navigate the difficult, and sometimes conflicting treatment options available and design personalised treatment programs to fit their unique circumstances and regain their energy and vitality.
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Do I Still Need A Second Opinion If My Mammogram Came Back Positive
Mammograms are about 87% effective in detecting invasive breast cancer cells. Depending on the doctor and his or her interpretation of the mammogram, test results can still yield a false-negative or false-positive. You should always follow-up and get a specialist’s second opinion to confirm the diagnosis and to get more information about your treatment options and next steps.
Support Organizations That Fund Research
Ask someone diagnosed with breast cancer what their most and least favorite breast cancer charities are, and you might be surprised by the answer. Some of the most popular nonprofits in the breast cancer space are actually really disliked by many breast cancer patients for putting profits before patients. When you choose to support a breast cancer charity , do some research to find out whether they are liked within the community and actually support the cause they say they do.
As a stage IV patient, I want to stress how important research is. Our cancer will eventually outsmart our treatments, forcing us to move on to the next treatment, and so on, and many people do run out of treatments. I currently have a friend in hospice currently because she has no more treatment options left, even though she has much more fight left in her. Research is the only way to find more treatments and extend our lives, so I highly recommend supporting organizations that fund stage IV breast cancer research. My personal favorite charity for stage IV breast cancer is Metavivor.
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Previous Breast Cancer Or Lump
You have a higher risk of developing breast cancer again if you’ve previously had breast cancer. The risk is also higher if you’ve had early non-invasive cancer cell changes in breast ducts. This could have been either in your other breast or in the same breast.
A benign breast lump doesn’t mean you have breast cancer.
Certain changes in your breast tissue, such as cells growing abnormally in ducts , or abnormal cells inside your breast lobules , can make getting breast cancer more likely.
What Is A Sentinel Lymph Node
A network of lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes drain fluid from the tissue in the breast. The lymph nodes are designed to trap foreign or abnormal cells that may be contained in this fluid. Sometimes cancer cells pass through the nodes into the lymphatic vessels and spread to other parts of the body.
Although fluid from breast tissue eventually drains to many lymph nodes, the fluid usually drains first through one or only a few nearby lymph nodes. Such lymph nodes are called sentinel lymph nodes because they are the first to warn that cancer has spread.
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Ksat Brought Your Questions Directly To Experts At The 2021 Sabcs
SAN ANTONIO Its the second most common cancer among women in the United States, and this week, it was center stage at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The four-day event takes place this week at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Hundreds of doctors, researchers, and patients from around the world are participating, either in person or virtually.
Several viewers had specific questions for experts, and our KSAT team got the following answers.
- How do we know if we have dense breast tissue? Can that delay a diagnosis? Viewer question answered by Dr. Debra Patt, an oncologist at Texas Oncology.
- Does alcohol increase/contribute to breast cancer? Viewer question answered by Dr. Debra Patt, an oncologist at Texas Oncology.
- If radiation seeds can be implanted in prostates for men to combat cancer, why cant there be a seed for breast cancer, to avoid chemo? Viewer question answered by Dr. Debra Patt, an oncologist at Texas Oncology.
- Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, answered the viewer question: Are any research/advancements being done to eliminate HER+ permanently?
- What if you have naturally high estrogen levels? Would you recommend an estrogen blocker and genetic testing? Dr. Alastair Thompson, Breast Surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine answered this question from a viewer:
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Treatments To Reduce Your Risk
If you have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer, for example, a BRCA gene carrier, treatment might be available to reduce your risk. This applies to a very small minority of women.
Your level of risk is determined by factors such as your age, your family’s medical history, and the results of genetic tests.
You will usually be referred to a specialist genetics service if it’s thought you have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. Healthcare professionals working at these services might discuss treatment options with you.
The 2 main treatments are surgery to remove the breasts or medication. These are described in more detail below.
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Mammography: Screening For Breast Cancer
Mammography is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer early. Mammography is designed to be sensitive enough to detect the possibility of cancer at an early stage, sometimes years before it can be felt. Because mammography is so sensitive, it may indicate cancer when none is presenta false-positive result. About 85 to 90% of abnormalities detected during screening are not cancer. Typically, when the result is positive, more specific follow-up procedures, usually a breast biopsy, are scheduled to confirm the result. Mammography may miss up to 15% of breast cancers. It is less accurate in women with dense breast tissue.
Breast tomosynthesis may be used with mammography to produce a clear, highly focused 3-dimensional picture of the breast. This technique makes it somewhat easier to detect cancer, especially in women with dense breast tissue. However, this type of mammography exposes women to almost twice as much radiation as traditional mammography.
Recommendations for routine screening with mammography vary. Experts disagree about
When it should start
When a lump or another abnormality is detected in the breast during a physical examination or by a screening procedure Screening Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast become abnormal and divide uncontrollably. Breast cancer usually starts in the glands that produce milk or the tubes that carry… read more , other procedures are necessary.
Personal Support Is Crucial
A breast cancer diagnosis can make patients and their loved ones feel powerless, and mental health issues, while common, can exacerbate this feeling. Some things truly are outside of our control, and accepting this can make you feel understandably overwhelmed. But there are simple things we can do to support the mental health of loved ones with breast cancer every single day.
One of the most effective strategies is also the simplest: simply be there.
If you or a loved one are struggling after a breast cancer diagnosis, you deserve support. The American Cancer Society has a range of mental healthresources for people with cancer and caretakers. You can also consult the Susan G. Komen Foundations list of breast cancer support groups.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
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