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What Does It Feel Like If You Have Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca

Breast Cancer : What Does a Breast Cancer Lump Feel Like?

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.

How To Feel For Changes

Using the following steps, a person can feel for changes such as lumps, thickening, or pain:

  • Using the pads of the fingers, move in a circular motion from the inside, near the nipple, outward.
  • Cover the entire breast area from the cleavage line to the surrounding chest, collarbone, and armpit area.
  • Do this both from side to side and up and down.
  • Apply light pressure closer to the surface of the breast and nipple.
  • Apply medium and firm pressure to check deeper tissue and tissue closer to the rib cage and back muscles.
  • To examine the nipple, squeeze gently and check for discharge, lumps, and pain.
  • Carry out the same routine while lying down, allowing the breast tissue to rest evenly against the chest wall.

    More Than Pain: Other Signs And Symptoms That Cancer Can Cause

    Many people say there is no pain when asked “What does cancer feel like.” The reason behind this is that cancers don’t have any nerves. Cancers can only cause pain when the tumor presses on the nerves close to the region in which it is growing. If the tumor stays clear of the nerves, you won’t feel any pain because of it.

    Cancers can also cause other symptoms like fatigue, weight loss and fever even if they cause no pain. This happens because most of the body’s energy is taken up by cancer cells. In some cases, cancer cells release substances that reduce the body’s capability of turning food into energy. Since cancer also affects the immune system, such symptoms might also generate as an immune system malfunction.

    Cancer is also capable of causing symptoms that are not commonly linked with it. For instance, a few pancreatic cancers release substances in the bloodstream that create blood clots in the leg’s veins. A few lung cancers release substances that increase the levels of blood calcium, which in return affects both muscles and nerves and causes the person to feel dizzy and weak.

    Watch out 4 cancer warning signs as the following video lists.

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    When To Contact A Doctor

    A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms that may indicate breast cancer. Most lumps are not cancerous, but a doctor can help rule this out.

    Screening can help detect changes before a lump becomes noticeable. At this stage, breast cancer is easier to treat.

    Current guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend that females speak with a doctor about breast cancer screening from the age of 40 years. They also recommend that females at average risk of breast cancer have a mammogram every 2 years from 5074 years of age.

    People with a higher risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer, may need more regular screening.

    It is worth noting that different authorities, such as the

    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.

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    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.

    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 .

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    You Notice Dimply Scaly Patchy Or Inflamed Skin

    You know your boobs and all their little quirks so if you notice any changes to their normal appearance, pay attention, says Debra Patt, MD, OB-GYN, and breast cancer expert with Texas Oncology, a practice in the US Oncology Network.

    “Any unusual thickening, redness, rash, dimpling, or puckering of your breast skin, or around the nipple, should be checked out by your doctor,” she explains.

    How To Look For Changes

    Signs Of Breast Cancer: What You MUST Look For Besides Lumps

    Standing in front of a mirror, a person should look at the overall appearance of the breasts and nipples. Here are some questions to think about while doing so:

    • Are they similar in size, shape, and height?
    • Is one a different color than the other?
    • Are there any visible skin lesions, marks, color changes, or moles?
    • Are there any signs of swelling, lumpiness, pitting, or contour changes?
    • Are the nipples facing outward or inward?

    A person should run through this checklist twice: once with their arms at their sides and once with their arms above their head.

    Breasts are rarely identical, but noticing changes can help detect a problem early. Having an idea of the usual size, shape, appearance, and feel of the breasts can help a person be aware of any changes.

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    What Does Normal Breast Tissue Feel Like

    Not all lumps in the breasts are malignant . As one MyBCTeam member wrote, Keep in mind that breasts are naturally fibrous and lumpy and often change with your menstrual cycle and hormone changes.

    Its true women commonly have irregularities and lumpy areas in their breast tissues. Whats more, the structures in and around the breasts may sometimes be detectable as small bumps. The lymph nodes and milk lobes, for instance, may feel like soft beans or soft peas.

    As another member shared, I was told some small lumps are normal. You just have to get to know what your normal is. This is great advice familiarizing yourself with your breast tissue will help you understand when something feels different or if a new lump appears.

    What Causes Cancer Pain

    There are a number of different causes of cancer pain. For example, the pain can stem from a tumor itself or the damage that it has caused the surrounding tissue or organs. For example, deep pain can occur in the bones from a tumor placing pressure on the bone, and burning pain can occur when a tumor presses against a nerve.

    There is also discomfort and pain associated with many cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. In some cases, the pain you experience is associated with nerve damage. The nerves can be damaged during treatment or from the cancer itself. Additionally, nerves could be signaling the brain that damage is either occurring or could occur. Nerve damage typically cant be reversed and causes chronic pain.

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    Grade Of Breast Cancer

    The grade describes the appearance of the cancer cells.

    • Low grade the cells, although abnormal, appear to be growing slowly.
    • Medium grade the cells look more abnormal than low-grade cells.
    • High grade the cells look even more abnormal and are more likely to grow quickly.

    Want to know more?

    What Does Cancer Pain Actually Feel Like

    If youre experiencing;cancer-related pain, make sure to check with your doctor about treatment options.

    If you are suffering from;cancer, you may have to deal with a lot of pain. While not everyone with cancer experiences pain, a significant number do. The pain that you feel will be different based on the type of cancer that you have. Sometimes you might have several different forms of pain, making it difficult to explain. Additionally, with cancer pain comes not only the physical discomfort but also emotional pain, as well.

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    Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally

    All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.

    Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.

    Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.

    In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.

    Pain: Obvious Symptom That Cancer Can Cause

    Pain is an indicator of something being wrong with the usual cause being an injury or an illness. In either case, the nervous system notifies the brain of a problem by sending a pain signal through the nerves. When the signal is received, the pain is felt. Every kind of pain is transmitted in the same manner, including pain due to cancer. As not every type of cancer causes similar pain, the type of pain you feel can give an indication about a broad cancer type at least. For instance:

    • Deep, aching pain. Deep and aching pain is usually caused by a tumor that is present close to the bones or that grows into the bones. This kind of pain caused by cancer is mostly bone pain.
    • Burningpain. Burning pain is caused by tumors that press on parts of nerves. Cancer treatments like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can sometimes damage nerves and give rise to a burning feeling.
    • Phantompain. Phantom pain is the sensation of pain in an area where a body part, like a breast or an arm, has been removed. The pain is felt even though there is no body part because of the nerve endings in the region continue to send the pain signals to the brain.

    Going into further detail, the region of pain can give a good idea about the type of cancer. For example:

    People’s Experiences

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    Stage Of Breast Cancer

    When your breast cancer is diagnosed, the doctors will give it a stage. The stage describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread.

    Ductal carcinoma in situ is sometimes described as Stage 0. Other stages of breast cancer describe invasive breast cancer .

    • Stage 1 the tumour measures less than 2cm and the lymph nodes in the armpit aren’t affected. There are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.
    • Stage 2 the tumour measures 2-5cm or the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected, or both. There are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.
    • Stage 3 the tumour measures;2-5cm and may be attached to structures in the breast, such as skin or surrounding tissues. The lymph nodes in the armpit are affected. However, there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.
    • Stage 4 the tumour is of any size and the cancer has spread to other parts of the body .

    This is a simplified guide. Each stage is divided into further categories: A, B and C. If you’re not sure what stage you have, ask your doctor.

    Causes And Risk Factors

    Lumps in breast | What does a lump in your breast feel like? – Dr. Nanda Rajaneesh

    According to the;American Cancer Society, most breast cancers are ductal cancers, beginning in the cells that carry milk to the nipple. Lobular cancers, starting in the milk-producing glands, are less common.

    BreastCancer.org state some;5 to 10 percent;of all female breast cancer cases in the U.S. are hereditary. This means that an abnormal gene is passed on from parent to child, which is often the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

    Having abnormal copies of these genes raises the risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers.

    Around;85 percent;of breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history of the condition. Age, gender, and ethnicity are the biggest risk factors. For women, the risk increases with age, and white women are at a higher risk than women of other races.

    The;National Cancer Institute;reports that the odds of developing breast cancer increase with age. They state that the 10-year risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 227 for a 30-year-old woman and 1 in 26 for a 70-year-old woman.

    The most significant increase in these odds occurs during the period between 30 and 50 years, rising from 1 in 227 to 1 in 42.

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    How Quickly Does Breast Cancer Grow

    Breast cancer has to divide 30 times before it can be felt. Up to the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it by hand. With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

    Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast

    Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.

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    Why Does Breast Density Matter

    Dense breasts make it harder for radiologists to detect breast cancers when they read a mammogram. Cancers typically show up as small white spots or masses on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue also appears white on a mammogram. Small areas of cancer can hide behind the dense tissue, and its challenging to tell the difference between normal, healthy tissue and abnormal growths. The organization DenseBreast-info.org compares it to trying to see a snowman in a blizzard. Fatty breast tissue appears dark on a mammogram, so areas of concern that show up white are much easier to see.

    Mammograms can miss about half of cancers in women with dense breasts.3, 4 In addition, women with dense breasts are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer within the year after receiving a normal mammogram result, usually based on symptoms such as a lump or other breast changes.

    Apart from hiding cancers on mammograms, dense breast tissue itself is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. Doctors arent sure exactly why. Cancers develop in glandular tissue: the more glandular tissue there is, the greater the risk. Fibrous tissue may also produce growth factors that cause glandular tissue cells to divide and reproduce more than cells in fatty tissue do. Every time a cell divides, there is an opportunity for a mistake in the DNA to occur in the new cells and multiple mistakes can eventually result in cancer.