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What Does Breast Cancer Look Like On The Outside

The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca

Self-exam is the key to detecting breast cancer early

At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCA® hospitals, located across the nation, our cancer experts are devoted to a single missiontreating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision. Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and coordinated by a registered oncology nurse, who helps track the various appointments, follow up on tests and answer questions that come up along the way. Your care team also may include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with advanced training in helping patients restore function and appearance. Fertility preservation and genetic testing;are also available for qualifying patients who need them.

Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat different types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ;to complex diseases such as triple-negative;and inflammatory breast cancer. As part of our patient-centered care model, which is designed to help you keep strong during treatment, your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive therapies, such as naturopathic support, psychosocial support, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy;and pain management. The entire team works together with a whole-person focus, which is at the heart of our centers dedication to personalized and comprehensive care.

Always Seek Medical Attention Even During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The key point is that a woman should seek medical attention for any concerning lumps in her breasts, says Harold Burstein, MD, PhD, a breast oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center.

Simple imaging techniques, such as a mammogram or breast ultrasound, can usually provide reassurance that the breast lump is benign. If necessary, a breast MRI or biopsy can be used to evaluate whether the lump is cancerous.

Lactating Adenomas In Mammogram Images

Breast cancer is very uncommon in younger women. So, if a young woman who is pregnant came in for a screening of a palpable breast lump;it is far more likely that the lesion is a fibroadenoma of some kind.

One common variation of fibroadenoma in pregnant women is a lactating adenoma, which is essentially a tubular adenoma;that occurs in pregnant women.; Lactating adenoma features the;accumulation of milk secretions in addition to hyperplasia.

Breast X-rays are not normally given to pregnant women. Given that breast cancer is very unlikely and lactating adenoma is quite likely, ultrasound and possibly a fine needle aspiration biopsy would typically be utilized for diagnostic investigations.

The main concern with a lactating adenoma from the perspective of breast cancer is that the condition can occur simultaneously with breast cancer.; However, on their own, they indicate;no increase in the risk for subsequent breast cancer development.

In the ultrasound image of lactating adenoma below, one notes a hypoechoic, non-cystic mass in an ovoid shape. It has a long axis running parallel to the skin, posterior acoustic enhancement, and well-defined margins.

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Invasive Squamous Cell Cancer Of The Vulva

Almost all women with invasive vulvar cancers will have symptoms. These can include:

  • An area on the vulva that looks different from normal it could be lighter or darker than the normal skin around it, or look red or pink.
  • A bump or lump, which could be red, pink, or white and could have a wart-like or raw surface or feel rough or thick
  • Thickening of the skin of the vulva
  • Itching
  • Bleeding or discharge not related to the normal menstrual period
  • An open sore

Verrucous carcinoma, a subtype of invasive squamous cell vulvar cancer, looks like cauliflower-like growths similar to genital warts.

These symptoms are more often caused by other, non-cancerous conditions. Still, if you have these symptoms, you should have them checked by a doctor or nurse.

Causes Of Breast Cancer

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Certain genes control the life cyclethe growth, function, division, and deathof a cell. When these genes are damaged, the balance between normal cell growth and death is lost. Normal breast cells become cancerous because of changes in DNA structure. Breast cancer is caused by cellular DNA damage that leads to out-of-control cell growth.

Causes of Breast Cancer: Genetics & Mutations

Inherited genes can increase the likelihood of breast cancer. For example, mutations of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 can inhibit the body’s ability to safeguard and repair DNA. Copies of these mutated genes can be passed on genetically to future generations, leading to a genetically-inherited increased risk of cancer.

Causes of Breast Cancer: Lifestyle

Lifestyle choices can lead to breast cancer as well. Eating a poor diet, inactivity, obesity, heavy alcohol use, tobacco use including smoking, and exposure to chemicals and toxins are all associated with a greater breast cancer risk.

Causes of Breast Cancer: Medical Treatment

Medical treatment with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunosuppressive drugs used to decrease the spread of cancer throughout the body can also cause damage to healthy cells. Some “second cancers,” completely separate from the initial cancer, have been known to occur following aggressive cancer treatments. Radiation theraspy to the chest to treat other conditions or cancers also increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

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Treatment For Physical Symptoms

Several medications can help relieve pain. The American Cancer Society urge that a person should not have to endure pain in the final months and days of life.

Many people find relief with opioid medications, but these can cause side effects such as fatigue and constipation. A person may use opioids in combination with other pain relief medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Other drugs, such as antidepressants and antiseizure medications, can also treat certain types of pain.

Doctors can also prescribe medications for nausea and vomiting. Some drugs for treating nausea can make a person drowsy. However, these drugs may help people eat and drink more or simply make it easier for them to function and interact with other people.

What Is Usually The First Sign Of Breast Cancer

The common signs of breast cancer include:

  • A lump in the;breast;or in the armpits is often the first sign of breast cancer. This may be felt while in the shower. There may or may not be changes in the structure of the breast. Axillary swelling; may indicate that cancer from the breast has traveled to the;lymph nodes, and now there may be a lymph node invasion.;

Apart from above signs below are few other sign and symptoms:;

  • Changes in the nipple area, nipple retraction and inverted nipple are common warning signs of breast cancer
  • Bleeding from the nipple;may be limited and difficult to see, but if an individual notices blood stains on the bra, or if the secretions are unusual, bloody or continuous, they may need urgent medical attention.;
  • Change in color and/or thickening of skin on the breast that resembles an orange rind is a warning sign of breast cancer. If the breast skin changes color, typically to a pink or reddish hue that covers more than half the breast that may also be a warning sign.
  • A non-healing sore anywhere on the breast, including the nipple with or without bleeding may be a warning sign of breast cancer;
  • Increased warmth in the breast with change in size and appearance of breast is a sign of breast cancer.;

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Signs Of Invasive Breast Cancers

Invasive breast cancers can cause specific signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Itchy or irritated breasts
  • Changes in the color of your breasts, such as redness
  • A rapid change in the shape of your breast or an increase in breast size over a short period
  • Changes in the way your breasts feel when you touch them they may be hard, tender, or warm to the touch
  • Flaking or peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
  • Feeling a lump in your breast or thickening of the breast tissue
  • Pitting of the skin on your breast, making it look somewhat like the skin of an orange

How Does Cancer Spread Beyond The Breast

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Breast cancer can invade through nearby tissue, or spread through the body via the lymphatic system and blood.

  • Tissue: the cancer spreads from the original site and grows into nearby areas .
  • Lymphatic system: breast cancer cells break away from the original site and can enter nearby lymph tubes , grow in nearby lymph nodes or travel through lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood: breast cancer cells break away from the original site and can enter and travel through nearby blood vessels to other parts of the body.

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What Causes Breast Cancer

Breast cancer happens when there are changes in the genetic material . Often, the exact cause of these genetic changes is unknown.

But sometimes these genetic changes are inherited, meaning that you are born with them. Breast cancer that is caused by inherited genetic changes is called hereditary breast cancer.

There are also certain genetic changes that can raise your risk of breast cancer, including changes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two changes also raise your risk of ovarian and other cancers.

Besides genetics, your lifestyle and the environment can affect your risk of breast cancer.

Effect Of Hormonal Changes On Breasts

As women develop from pre-puberty through puberty, pregnancy and to menopause, the breasts will be affected by a variety of fluctuations in hormones.

During puberty, hormones produced by the ovaries ; cause growth and development of the breast. After puberty, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone will change throughout a womans monthly menstrual cycle. This may cause women to have swollen or tender breasts at different times of the month.

During pregnancy the body will produce additional oestrogen and progesterone, which trigger further growth and development of the breast to prepare mothers for breastfeeding.

Around the time of menopause , the ovaries stop producing female hormones including oestrogen. Without oestrogen, the breast tissue decreases in size. After menopause , monthly menstrual periods stop.

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Scar Tissue Can Often Appear Suspicious

The image below contains a lesion with irregular, spiculated There does not appear to be a central;mass to this lesion, which right away makes it less likely to be breast cancer. However, something this suspicious would likely need a biopsy to find out exactly what is going on.;This lesion is more likely to be either a post-surgical scar or possibly a radial scar. In actual fact this particular image was taken from a woman who had breast surgery, so a post-surgical scar is the most probable diagnosis.

A closer look via magnification of the same lesion reveals a central radio-transparency likely caused by fat necrosis, and there is no central mass.

The spiculations around the lesion are likely a desmoplastic reaction to the surgery. .

When Is It Given

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Electrochemotherapy may be used to treat skin metastases when other treatments havent worked or when surgery isnt suitable.;

It can also be given alongside other treatments, or given to skin which has previously been treated with radiotherapy.;

Electrochemotherapy may not be suitable for some people with certain lung conditions.

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What Is The Prognosis For People With Inflammatory Breast Cancer

IBC usually develops quickly and spreads to other tissues outside the breast. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing the condition as effectively as possible.

Doctors use a system made up of four stages to diagnose all types of cancer. IBC is stage III or stage IV when it is diagnosed.

Because IBC is aggressive, and because it is found later than other cancers, the outlook for people with this condition is generally not as good as for other types of breast cancer. Still, some people have lived many years after an IBC diagnosis. Your doctor can explain your individual prognosis to you.

Breast Lumps Or Lumpiness

Many women find their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture.

Some women have more lumpiness in their breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then its likely normal breast tissue.

Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast or that feel like a change should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition .

See a health care provider if you:

  • Find a new lump that feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Find a new lump that feels different from your other breast
  • Feel something thats different from what you felt before

If;youve had a benign lump in the past, dont assume a new lump will also be benign. The new lump may not be breast cancer, but its best to make sure.;

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Common Types Of Breast Cancer

Lobular carcinoma in situ

Lobular carcinoma in situ refers to an area of abnormal cells confined to the milk-producing glands of the breast in females.

Because these cells do not spread to surrounding tissues, experts do not consider lobular carcinoma in situ to be a true cancer. However, it can increase the chances of developing other types of breast cancer.

This condition rarely causes symptoms. In some cases, tiny white specs of calcium called microcalcifications show up on a routine mammogram.

Invasive lobular carcinoma

This develops in the breasts lobules glands that can produce milk and invades nearby breast tissue.

In the early stages, invasive lobular carcinoma may not cause symptoms. Or, a person may experience:

  • thickening or hardening of breast tissue, rather than a distinct lump
  • an area of fullness or swelling in the breast
  • a change in the texture of the breasts skin
  • the nipple turning inward

Ductal carcinoma in situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ refers to an area of abnormal cells that are confined to one of the breasts milk ducts.

When a person receives this diagnosis, it means that the cells have not invaded surrounding breast tissue. However, having ductal carcinoma in situ can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer later on.

This condition generally does not cause symptoms. Rarely, a person may notice a lump in the breast or some discharge from the nipple.

Invasive ductal carcinoma

People with this type of cancer may also experience:

What Is Breast Cancer

The untold story of the advanced or metastatic breast cancer patient

Breast cancer is the disease in which the cells multiply at an abnormal rate and displace normal breast tissue. ;When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is called metastasized breast cancer. Breast cancer and its complications can affect nearly every part of the body. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men.

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What Complications Are Associated With Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Treatment for IBC can bring its own set of complications, such as lymphedema after removal of lymph nodes.

Because IBC develops so quickly, the condition has usually spread to other tissues by the time it is diagnosed. This metastasis can create a need for additional treatment to other areas of the body. IBC is also more likely to recur compared to other forms of breast cancer.

Less Common Breast Cancers

Some less common types of breast cancer include:

  • Triple-negative breast cancer: The name refers to cancer cells that do not contain estrogen or progesterone receptors and produce little HER2 protein. As a result, the cancer does not respond to hormone therapy. Both lobular and ductal carcinomas can be triple-negative.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer: This develops when cancer cells block lymph vessels within the skin of the breast, causing the breast to swell.
  • Phyllodes tumors: These develop within the connective tissues of the breast. While most are benign, some are cancerous.
  • Pagets disease: This type of cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple.
  • Angiosarcoma of the breast: This type of cancer starts in blood or lymph vessels and can affect the breast tissue.

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What Does Breast Cancer Look Like

Early warning signs of inflammatory breast cancer along with images of inflammatory breast cancer are mentioned below. Women or men who develop any of the inflammatory breast cancer early signs should seek medical care immediately to ensure timely treatment.

There is a lack of expertise in treating IBC and its resistance to treatment with standard chemotherapy drugs. The 5-year median survival rate is approximately 40%, mainly due to delays in diagnosis. Standard diagnostic tests for breast cancer, such as mammograms, MRI and biopsies generally cannot accurately diagnose IBC. Surgical biopsy and PET scan are used to make a diagnosis for IBC. Inflammatory Breast Cancer is treated differently, because it is different.

Many factors including the type and location of the cancer, the stage;of the disease, the patients age and overall general health, and the extent to which the patients disease responds to treatment can influence a cancer patients prognosis. so timely diagnosis of the disease is crucial to maximize the chances of recovery.

How To Check Your Breasts

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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.

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