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.
What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Like many conditions, risk factors for breast cancer fall into the categories of things you can control and things that you cannot control. Risk factors affect your chances of getting a disease, but having a risk factor does not mean that you are guaranteed to get a certain disease.
Controllable risk factors for breast cancer
- Alcohol consumption. The risk of breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. For instance, women who consume two or three alcoholic beverages daily have an approximately 20% higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.
- Body weight. Being obese is a risk factor for breast cancer. It is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Breast implants. Having silicone breast implants and resulting scar tissue make it harder to distinguish problems on regular mammograms. It is best to have a few more images to improve the examination. There is also a rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma that is associated with the implants.
- Choosing not to breastfeed. Not breastfeeding can raise the risk.
- Using hormone-based prescriptions. This includes using hormone replacement therapy during menopause for more than five years and taking certain types of birth control pills.
Non-controllable risk factors for breast cancer
Large Lump In The Armpit
An enlarged lump in the armpit that is easily detectable could indicate a problem. However, it can also be caused by something as simple as an infection or cyst. Therefore, you should not panic if this occurs one time and then disappears on its own after a few weeks of treatment with antibiotics.
If the symptom persists for several months, it is important to see a doctor. As stated by this breast cancer surgeon, a medical professional will be able to tell whats wrong by performing simple examinations. It might be necessary to do some additional tests, such as an MRI or biopsy to find the cause of the lump. If detected early, this condition can be treated with minimum effort.
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Signs Of Colorectal Cancer
“Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important,” says the CDC. “If you have symptoms, they may include
- A change in bowel habits.
- Blood in or on your stool .
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.
- Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
- Losing weight and you don’t know why.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.”
“Ovarian cancer may cause the following signs and symptoms,” says the CDC:
- “Vaginal bleeding , or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area.
- Abdominal or back pain.
- Feeling full too quickly, or difficulty eating.
- A change in your bathroom habits, such as more frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation.
Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have unusual vaginal bleeding, see a doctor right away. If you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you, see a doctor.”
Diagnosing Metastatic Breast Cancer
Getting a clear picture of where breast cancer has spread is essential for creating a personalized treatment plan. Your care team will likely use a combination of the following tests and tools to diagnose both localized and advanced breast cancer:
Ultrasound exam: With this imaging technique, sound waves create a picture of internal areas of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging : This procedure produces detailed images using magnetic fields and radio waves.
Blood chemistry studies: A blood sample is taken to measure the amounts of certain substances that are released by your organs and tissues. A higher or lower amount of a particular substance may be a sign of disease.
Biopsy: A biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues so a pathologist may view them through a microscope. Your original breast cancer diagnosis was likely confirmed with a biopsy.
Also Check: Don Harrington Breast Cancer Center
Breast Cancer Symptoms In Males
Males have small amounts of breast tissue, which does not develop during puberty. Rarely, cancer forms in this tissue.
The ACS estimate that in 2020, doctors in the United States will diagnose about 2,620 cases of breast cancer in men. Approximately 520 men will die from the disease in the same year.
Males with breast cancer may experience:
- a lump or swelling that is often painless
- nipple retraction
- the persons overall health
Some of the most common breast cancer treatments include:
- hormone therapy, which uses hormones to target cancer cells that have hormone receptors
- radiation therapy, which uses targeted high-dose radiation to destroy cancer cells
- chemotherapy, which uses specific drugs to kill cancer cells
- lumpectomy, which involves removing the tumor while leaving the breast intact
- mastectomy, which involves removing the tumor and part or all of the breasts tissue
The doctor will describe the various options at each stage of treatment and work to determine the best course of action.
Several benign breast conditions can cause symptoms that resemble those of cancer. Some of these issues require treatment, while others go away on their own.
Though these conditions are benign, they can cause:
- discomfort or pain
Some common benign breast conditions include:
If a person is not sure what is causing any breast-related symptom, they should talk to a doctor as soon as possible.
What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
There are different types of breast cancer. The types are based on which breast cells turn into cancer. The types include
- Ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. This is the most common type.
- Lobular carcinoma, which begins in the lobules. It is more often found in both breasts than other types of breast cancer.
- Inflammatory breast cancer, in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. The breast becomes warm, red, and swollen. This is a rare type.
- Paget’s disease of the breast, which is a cancer involving the skin of the nipple. It usually also affects the darker skin around the nipple. It is also rare.
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Breast Reconstruction After Weight Loss
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Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer With Early Detection And Prevention
When it comes to cancer, early detection is important, but so is reducing your risk. There are several healthy lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Stay lean after menopause. Keep a healthy weight and a low amount of body fat. Eating a healthy diet can help.
Get active and sit less. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Do strength-training exercises at least two days a week.
Avoid alcohol. If you drink, limit yourself to one drink per day if you are a woman, and two drinks per day if you are a man.
Choose to breastfeed. Try to breastfeed exclusively for six months after giving birth, and continue even when other foods are introduced.
Manage hormones naturally. If you are going through menopause and trying to control the symptoms, try non-hormonal methods before turning to hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, get regular breast cancer screening exams. Screening exams can detect cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat. Women age 25 to 39 should consider a clinical breast exam every one to three years. Women 40 and older should get an annual breast exam and a screening mammogram.
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Common Signs Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer awareness is important for monitoring your overall breast health. Though self-examinations do not replace routine check-ups, mammograms and other breast screenings by your doctor, it can be helpful to know what signs to look out for, and when to take action. The warning signs of breast cancer may not be the same for all women, but there are many common signs that can indicate cancer. See a health care provider if you notice any of the following warning signs.
How To Do A Breast Self
Once youve done a self-exam while standing, youre not quite done yet. Lay down for the final steps:
- Lay down. Put your head on a pillow and note any changes to the skin on your breasts, or size.
- Feel your breasts. Using the same technique with your arm up and hand behind your head, feel your breasts with your opposite hand, and use the circular or up-and-down method.
- Check the surrounding areas. It’s important to feel your underarm area as well as the hard area of your ribcage on your upper chest and sides.
Report any changes in your breasts to your doctor. Of course, its hard not to worry when you find something, but know that:
- Finding a lump or any other change doesnt always mean its cancer
- Its also important to know that performing a breast self-exam doesnt replace getting regular mammograms or getting your annual exams by your doctor
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What Is Yale Medicines Approach To Detecting And Treating Breast Cancer In Men
Our radiologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose even the rarest forms of breast cancer, including male breast cancerearly and accurately. Our radiologists who subspecialize in breast imaging are among the most highly skilled leaders in the field. They are nationally and internationally recognized for their skill in diagnosing breast cancer. Additionally, our radiologists conduct research on 3D mammography and dense breast imaging, which is advancing the field of radiology.
A man with a breast-related complaint will be scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound within a few days, Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says. If a suspicious mass is seen, then a needle biopsy is scheduled soon after. If a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, our intake specialists coordinate all necessary appointments with the patient as soon as possible, so that treatment can begin quickly.
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.
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Signs Of Breast Cancer Recurrence
Despite initial treatment and success, breast cancer can sometimes come back. This is called recurrence. Recurrence happens when a small number of cells escape the initial treatment.
Symptoms of a recurrence in the same place as the first breast cancer are very similar to symptoms of the first breast cancer. They include:
- a new breast lump
- redness or swelling of the breast
- a new thickening near the mastectomy scar
If breast cancer comes back regionally, it means that the cancer has returned to the lymph nodes or near to the original cancer but not exactly the same place. The symptoms may be slightly different.
Symptoms of a regional recurrence may include:
- lumps in your lymph nodes or near the collarbone
- chest pain
- pain or loss of sensation in your arm or shoulder
- swelling in your arm on the same side as the original breast cancer
If youve had a mastectomy or other surgery related to breast cancer, you might get lumps or bumps caused by scar tissue in the reconstructed breast. This isnt cancer, but you should let your doctor know about them so they can be monitored.
As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are major factors in determining the outcome. Breast cancer is easily treated and usually curable when detected in the earliest of stages.
The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk with your doctor about when you should start scheduling regular mammograms.
Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a benign breast condition, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. They may also request one or more diagnostic tests to help understand whats causing your symptoms.
Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:
- Mammogram. The most common way to see below the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you may have a tumor or suspicious spot, they will also request a mammogram. If an abnormal area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may request additional tests.
- Ultrasound. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst.
Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or a breast biopsy.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
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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.
Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast
A cancer might cause your breast to look bigger or have a different shape than usual, it might feel different.
Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender just before their period.
It can help to be breast aware. This means getting to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts.
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Breast Exam By Your Doctor
The same guidelines for self-exams provided above are true for breast exams done by your doctor or other healthcare professional. They wont hurt you, and your doctor may do a breast exam during your annual visit.
If youre having symptoms that concern you, its a good idea to have your doctor do a breast exam. During the exam, your doctor will check both of your breasts for abnormal spots or signs of breast cancer.
Your doctor may also check other parts of your body to see if the symptoms youre having could be related to another condition.