Breasts Can Change Normally
It can be alarming to discover a change in your breasts. Some of the symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. However, in the best practice of early detection, it’s a good idea to always be mindful of your ongoing breast health. Learn to recognize what may be normal for your body so that you can easily identify any signs of abnormalities.
How You Feel About Yourself And Others
When you have an ulcerating tumour it might affect how you feel about yourself. Also, how you feel about being with other people.
You might feel that you have lost control over your body. This can, in turn, make you feel vulnerable.
Your outward appearance can play a big part in how you feel about social situations. You might be worried and embarrassed about other people noticing your wound. This could stop you wanting to go out or see people and can affect your quality of life.
Applying surgical dressings to your wound might help you to cope better. They can make wearing clothes more comfortable. By covering your wound it might also reduce any smell.
Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.
The most common signs are:
- A change in the look or feel of the breast OR
- A change in the look or feel of the nipple OR
- Nipple discharge
If you have any of the warning signs described below, see a health care provider .
If you dont have a provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend.
If thats not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital. If you have insurance, your insurance company may also have a list of providers in your area.
Learn more about finding a health care provider.
In most cases, these changes are not cancer.
One example is breast pain. Pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer, but the only way to know for sure is to get it checked.
If the change turns out to be breast cancer, its best to find it at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.
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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.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.
- If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
- If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
- If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
- If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
- If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.
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You Notice Changes That Arent 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.
Thats because breast cancer can spread before its caught, causing symptoms in body parts that have nothing to do with your boobs. Its 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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What Is An Ulcerating Cancer
Ulcerating cancers are sometimes called fungating cancers or wounds. Fungating describes what the cancer might look like. They can grow in the shape of a fungus or cauliflower.
These wounds start when a tumour growing under the skin breaks through the skins surface. They can also develop from skin cancers such as melanoma.
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Warmth Redness And Pain
Warmth, redness and pain in the breast typically indicates mastitis, an infection or inflammation of the breast that is very common in breastfeeding women. Mastitis can be easily treated, and your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Rarely, this may be due to an inflammatory breast cancer , and so it should be addressed promptly by your doctor.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention
PMS-related breast swelling is common, but it shouldnt become so uncomfortable that it disrupts your daily life. If you experience excessively painful breast swelling during your menstrual cycle, make an appointment with your doctor.
You should also talk to your doctor if you experience breast swelling thats accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- cracking of your nipple
- changes in the color of your nipple or the skin on your breast
- dimpling or puckering of the skin on your breast
- excess breast swelling that prevents breast milk from coming out after you give birth
- a hardened lump in your breast tissue that doesnt change during your menstrual cycle
- a sore on your breast that doesnt heal
- unexpected discharge from your nipple
If you experience other symptoms that dont get better with time, talk to your doctor. When in doubt, ask them about your symptoms.
To diagnose the cause of breast swelling, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. For example, they may ask when your symptoms began and whether they get better or worse at certain times.
They will also examine your breast tissue and feel for lumps.
They may recommend imaging tests such as a mammogram or breast ultrasound to view the internal structures of your breast.
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Causes Of Paget’s Disease Of The Nipple
The cause of Paget’s disease of the nipple is unknown. Some women appear to be more at risk of developing breast cancer, but not specifically Paget’s disease. There are no known causes that lead to a specific type of breast cancer.
In terms of risk factors, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer if you:
- are older the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
- have close relatives with breast cancer
- have had breast cancer before
- have had a type of benign breast disease before certain types of benign breast disease may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, but this is only seen in a very small number of women
- are overweight particularly if you’ve been through the menopause
- drink a lot of alcohol your risk can increase with the amount of alcohol you drink
Read more about the risk factors for breast cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cyst
Signs and symptoms of a breast cyst include: A smooth, easily movable round or oval lump that may have smooth edges which typically, though not always, indicates its benign. Nipple discharge that may be clear, yellow, straw colored or dark brown. Breast pain or tenderness in the area of the breast lump.
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Treating Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer that has not spread outside the breast is stage III. In most cases, treatment is chemotherapy first to try to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove the cancer. Radiation and often other treatments, like more chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy, are given after surgery. Because IBC is so aggressive, breast conserving surgery and sentinel lymph node biopsy are typically not part of the treatment.
IBC that has spread to other parts of the body may be treated with chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted drugs.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Joint Committee on Cancer. Breast. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 8th ed. New York, NY: Springer 2017:589.
Curigliano G. Inflammatory breast cancer and chest wall disease: The oncologist perspective. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2018 Aug 44:1142-1147.
Hennessy BT, Gonzalez-Angulo AM, Hortobagyi GN, et al. Disease-free and overall survival after pathologic complete disease remission of cytologically proven inflammatory breast carcinoma axillary lymph node metastases after primary systemic chemotherapy. Cancer. 2006 106:10001006.
National Cancer Institute. Inflammatory Breast Cancer. 2016. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/ibc-fact-sheet on August 30, 2021.
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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How Is Radiation Therapy Used To Treat Breast Cancer
A breast cancer survivor has posted candid pictures of her chest following radiotherapy treatment to show the reality of living with the disease. Radiation therapy for breast cancer uses high energy x rays protons or other particles to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy and risk of a second cancer. Jenn alter from saint louis missouri posted the.
Look Out For An Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling is another warning sign of melanoma. This recognition strategy is based on the concept that most normal moles on your body resemble one another, while melanomas stand out like ugly ducklings in comparison. This highlights the importance of not just checking for irregularities, but also comparing any suspicious spot to surrounding moles to determine whether it looks different from its neighbors. These ugly duckling lesions or outlier lesions can be larger, smaller, lighter or darker, compared to surrounding moles. Also, isolated lesions without any surrounding moles for comparison are considered ugly ducklings.
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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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Peeling Scaling Or Flaking Skin
Dont immediately be alarmed if you notice peeling, scaling, or flaking on your breasts or the skin around your nipples. This is a symptom of breast cancer, but it can also be a symptom of atopic dermatitis, eczema, or another skin condition.
After an exam, your doctor may run tests to rule out Pagets disease, which is a type of breast cancer affecting the nipples. It can also cause these symptoms.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer causes a number of signs and symptoms, most of which develop quickly , including:
- Swelling of the skin of the breast
- Redness involving more than one-third of the breast
- Pitting or thickening of the skin of the breast so that it may look and feel like an orange peel
- A retracted or inverted nipple
- One breast looking larger than the other because of swelling
- One breast feeling warmer and heavier than the other
- A breast that may be tender, painful or itchy
- Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arms or near the collarbone
If you have any of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have IBC, but you should see a doctor right away. Tenderness, redness, warmth, and itching are also common symptoms of a breast infection or inflammation, such as mastitis if youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Because these problems are much more common than IBC, your doctor might suspect infection at first as a cause and treat you with antibiotics.
Treatment with antibiotics may be a good first step, but if your symptoms dont get better in 7 to 10 days, more tests need to be done to look for cancer. Let your doctor know if it doesn’t help, especially if the symptoms get worse or the affected area gets larger. The possibility of IBC should be considered more strongly if you have these symptoms and are not pregnant or breastfeeding, or have been through menopause. Ask to see a specialist if youre concerned.
Skin Cancer Or Breast Cancer How To Tell The Difference
By Cheryl Lee
It can be easy to confuse skin cancer for eczema.
These cases brings back to my mind a man whom I saw during an oncology rotation years ago as a third year medical student. I didnt know much about dermatology at the time, and yet, I knew there was something not quite right about his patch of eczema. In this case, the man who was undergoing treatment for rectal cancer also had a humongous pink, scaly plaque on his abdomen that measured about seven by seven inches. As we left the patients room one day, the oncologist with whom I was working just mentioned oh, that is just a patch of eczema and continued out of the room.
In my third year med student ignorance, I stepped out on a limb and posited that perhaps this was skin cancer because something back then told me that it just didnt look quite like eczema.
Now, years later and after practicing dermatology for ten years, I have the opportunity to hopefully help someone to catch their skin cancer or breast cancer very early in the game.
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‘this Is What Breast Cancer Looks Like’: Woman Shares Image Of The ‘faint Dimples’ On Her Bosom To Warn Others About A Rare Sign Of The Disease
- Kylie Armstrong of Melbourne, Australia, said she posted the photo on Monday to explain that breast cancer isn’t always detectable by a lump
- The mother said that she went to the doctor after discovering ‘very, very subtle dimples’ on the bottom of her breast
- Neither she nor her doctor could feel a lump, but an ultrasound revealed that she had cancer deep in her breast near the muscle
- Kylie’s post has been shared more than 98,000 times, and although it was reported for containing ‘nudity’, Facebook refused to remove her photo
What Are The Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Symptoms of IBC usually take just 3-6 months to develop. Your symptoms may include:
- A red or purple color or a rash spread over one-third of the breast
- Pitting, thickening, or dimpling of skin on the breast, so that it looks like an orange peel, a condition calledpeau dorange
- Inverted or retracted nipple
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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
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.