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What Is Breast Cancer Like

Reducing Your Risks For Breast Cancer

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Women who breast-feed their children for the recommended length of time can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 25%. You can also reduce your risk by maintaining a low BMI and by getting exercise. You should also cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink. Birth control pills and some forms of hormone therapy after menopause can boost the odds. But the risk seems to go back to normal after you stop these medications. Good lifestyle choices can help survivors, too. Research says physical activity can lower the chances your cancer will return. And it’s a proven mood-booster, too.


One Woman Shares Her Journey From Diagnosis Through Treatmentand How She Stays Strong While Battling The Disease

Like many people, Josie*, 53, didnt think twice about getting her annual physical in October 2015. Once it was over her doctor suggested she get her mammogram, since she was already in the building. Despite having a sister who is a breast cancer survivor, all Josie could think of was how the screening would make her late to her job in downtown Dallasso she decided against it.

But as Josie was leaving, she felt some kind of force change her mind and make her go back in.

In my head I say its my fatherwho passed away a few years ago and is my angelwho pushed me back in. If I hadnt gone back in, I dont know where Id be right now, says Josie.

Something also made her decide to have a 3D mammogram, which is often not covered by insurance.

I said whatever it costs, lets just do it, she says.

A few days later Josies doctor called to tell her there were some abnormalities in both breasts and she needed further diagnostic imaging. The initial diagnosis, following an ultrasound and multiple biopsies, was that Josie had Stage 1A breast cancer in her right breast her left breast was suspicious of carcinoma as well.

Josies doctor referred her to breast surgical oncologist Amelia Tower, DO, of Medical City Alliance in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin treatment. Josies first point of contact was Jordan Henderson, RN, a nurse navigator on Dr. Towers team at Medical Center Alliance.

Within days she met with Dr. Tower to further discuss her diagnosis and treatment options.


Cytotoxics And Targeted Therapies

are a relatively new class of cancer drugs that can overcome many of the issues seen with the use of cytotoxics. They are divided into two groups: small molecule and antibodies. The massive toxicity seen with the use of cytotoxics is due to the lack of cell specificity of the drugs. They will kill any rapidly dividing cell, tumor or normal. Targeted therapies are designed to affect cellular proteins or processes that are utilised by the cancer cells. This allows a high dose to cancer tissues with a relatively low dose to other tissues. Although the are often less severe than that seen of cytotoxic chemotherapeutics, life-threatening effects can occur. Initially, the targeted therapeutics were supposed to be solely selective for one protein. Now it is clear that there is often a range of protein targets that the drug can bind. An example target for targeted therapy is the BCR-ABL1 protein produced from the , a genetic lesion found commonly in and in some patients with . This has enzyme activity that can be inhibited by , a drug.

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Dog Breast Cancer: Diagnosis

Early detection of mammary masses is vital to your dogs correct diagnosis and treatment.

Before the diagnostic process begins, your veterinarian will ascertain whether your dog has recently given birth or gone through a heat cycle.

Mammary gland hyperplasia produces lumps around the time of a female dogs heat cycle. Hyperplasia is caused by hormonal imbalance . It typically dissipates once the hormones return to their usual concentration.

Dog Mammary Cancer Stages

Breast Cancer

There are five stages of mammary tumors in dogs. The stage of your pets cancer could help determine the right treatment, prognosis, and life expectancy.

The characteristics of each stage follow the tumor size , spread to regional lymph nodes , and distant metastasis .

Details on each stage are listed below:

Stage 1

  • Lymph node spread: Regional spread present
  • Distant metastasis: Distant metastasis present

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How Is Breast Cancer Treated

If the tests find cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan to eradicate the breast cancer, to reduce the chance of cancer returning in the breast, as well as to reduce the chance of the cancer traveling to a location outside of the breast. Treatment generally follows within a few weeks after the diagnosis.

The type of treatment recommended will depend on the size and location of the tumor in the breast, the results of lab tests done on the cancer cells, and the stage, or extent, of the disease. Your doctor will usually consider your age and general health as well as your feelings about the treatment options.

Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her individual diagnosis.

How Can I Protect Myself From Breast Cancer

Follow these three steps for early detection:

  • Get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40. Mammograms are an important part of your health history. Recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force came out with new recommendations regarding when and how often one should have mammograms. These include starting at age 50 and having them every two years. We do not agree with this, but we are in agreement with the American Cancer Society and have not changed our guidelines, which recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
  • Examine your breasts each month after age 20. You will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
  • Have your breast examined by a healthcare provider at least once every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. Clinical breast exams can detect lumps that may not be detected by mammogram.

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Look For Other Breast Changes

A woman can have breast cancer without noticing any changes in breast lumps. As one MyBCTeam member shared, I never felt a lump or had any tenderness in my breasts. In fact, some cases of breast cancer are first detected when the nipples change in appearance, secrete fluids, or become tender, or when the breasts skin becomes dimpled or puckered.

The same member went on to note that other symptoms helped point to a diagnosis of breast cancer: What I did have was a flattening of my nipples. No tenderness or pain just that my nipples didnt get erect anymore and were inverted. And a year before, I had a blood clot in my lung. Found out later that these can both be signs of breast cancer.

Let your doctor know if you experience any other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple discharge, skin dimpling, or swelling in the surrounding tissues . According to the Stony Brook Cancer Center, any abnormality in the size, texture, shape, or nipple of just one breast rather than both may be more dangerous than changes affecting both breasts symmetrically.

How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer

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Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.

In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.

The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.


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Life With Cancer Can Make Us Feel Loved

The experience of living with cancer isn’t all negative. Having cancer can make us feel loved and connected.

Friends and families express feelings often taken for granted. Love and caring that may have been shown in gifts or actions are now expressed in words as well.

Despite cancer adding to the busyness of our lives, it can also cause us to be quiet and take the time we otherwise would not. During chemotherapy, cancer patients and friends can have undivided time to really talk. In the hospital, it’s impossible to empty the dishwasher and do a load of laundry. Given this time, time to speak of the emotion, sharing between people with cancer and loved ones often deepens.

Cancer can also bring new friends to our lives.

Special Types Of Invasive Breast Carcinoma

There are some special types of breast cancer that are sub-types of invasive carcinoma. They are much less common than the breast cancers named above.

Some of these may have a better or worse prognosis than standard infiltrating ductal carcinoma.

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma
  • Medullary carcinoma
  • Metaplastic carcinoma
  • Micropapillary carcinoma

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How Common It Is

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK. That is around 150 people a day.

15 out of 100 of all newly diagnosed cancers in the UK are breast cancer.

  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence , 2009. Updated March 2017

  • Cancer and its Management, 7th EditionJS Tobias and D HochhauserWiley-Blackwell, 2014

  • Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness, 12th editionAnne Waugh and Allison Grant Churchill Livingstone, May 2014

  • Early Breast Cancer: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines 2019F Cardoso and others

When To Worry About Breast Lumps

Breast Cancer Stages, Stage IV: The cancer has spread far ...

So, you feel a lump in your breast. Or, is it a lump? You’re unsure.

The one thing you are sure about is that you’re worried and that you’ve got a lot of questions.

If you’re concerned about something that feels like a lump in your breast, Dr. Jitesh Joshi, medical oncologist at Houston Methodist Cancer Center, has answers to your questions about breast lumps, as well as some advice.

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Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment

Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.

This section explains the types of treatments that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are strongly encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors want to learn whether the new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less treatment than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option to consider for treatment and care for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.

What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer

There are two different staging systems for breast cancer. One is called anatomic staging while the other is prognostic staging. The anatomic staging is defined by the areas of the body where the breast cancer is found and helps to define appropriate treatment. The prognostic staging helps medical professionals communicate how likely a patient is to be cured of the cancer assuming that all appropriate treatment is given.

The anatomic staging system is as follows:

Stage 0 breast disease is when the disease is localized to the milk ducts .

Stage I breast cancer is smaller than 2 cm across and hasn’t spread anywhere including no involvement in the lymph nodes.

Stage II breast cancer is one of the following:

  • The tumor is less than 2 cm across but has spread to the underarm lymph nodes .
  • The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm .
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm .

Stage III breast cancer is also called “locally advanced breast cancer.” The tumor is any size with cancerous lymph nodes that adhere to one another or to surrounding tissue . Stage IIIB breast cancer is a tumor of any size that has spread to the skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes .

Stage IV breast cancer is defined as a tumor, regardless of size, that has spread to areas away from the breast, such as bones, lungs, liver or brain.

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What If The Lump Feels Like A Ridge What If I Have A Pea

You should have a familiarity with your body and what the breast normally feels like, including its normal shape, appearance, and texture. Generally, women are advised to analyze their breasts in the shower with soapy fingers to get a nice feel of the normal tissues. If you do that and have some familiarity with your normal breast tissue, and then find something different, you should reach out to your medical team.

What Can I Expect At My Doctors Appointment

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Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or gynecologist. Tell your doctor about the new spot youve identified and the symptoms you feel. Your doctor will likely conduct a full breast exam and may also check nearby spots, including your collarbone, neck, and armpit areas.

Based on what they feel, your doctor may order additional testing, such as a mammogram, ultrasound, or biopsy.

Your doctor may also suggest a period of watchful waiting. During this time, you and your doctor will continue to monitor the lump for any changes or growth. If theres any growth, your doctor should begin testing to rule out cancer.

Be honest with your doctor about your concerns. If your personal or family history puts you at a higher risk of having breast cancer, you may want to move forward with the appropriate diagnostic testing so you can know for sure if your breast lump is cancer or something else.

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing breast cancer. Some risk factors cant be changed others may be reduced or even eliminated based on your lifestyle choices.

The most significant breast cancer risk factors include:

  • Gender. Women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
  • Age. Invasive breast cancer is more common in women over age 55.
  • Family history. If a first-degree relative, such as a mother, sister, or daughter, has had breast cancer, your risk is

less than one percent of all breast cancers occur in men.

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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.

When To Euthanize A Dog With Breast Cancer

Putting a beloved pet to sleep is never easy but must be considered once mammary cancer has spread or progressed too far.

If your pet shows any of the following signs, you may need to discuss possible euthanization with your veterinarian:

  • Refusal to eat for extended periods
  • Continual vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty moving

If you notice any drastic negative change in your dogs behavior, monitor them carefully and consult your vet to discuss your options.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

The signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A new lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the armpit
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast. It may look like the skin of an orange.
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk. The discharge might happen suddenly, be bloody, or happen in only one breast.
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin in the nipple area or the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

What Are The Treatments For Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer and Axillary Lymph Nodes.

Treatments for breast cancer include:

  • Surgery such as
  • A mastectomy, which removes the whole breast
  • A lumpectomy to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy, which blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
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