What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The following early signs and symptoms of breast cancer can happen with other conditions that are not cancer related.
- New lump in the breast or underarm
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Can Men Get Breast Cancer
Although its more common in women, men can get breast cancer too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of a hundred breast cancer cases in the United States is a man. We are all born with a small amount of breast tissue. So even if the males breast doesnt develop more tissue, theres still enough for cells to grow and divide uncontrollably.
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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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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What Causes Death In Metastatic Breast Cancer
The most common cause of death was metastatic disease to various organs, accounting for 42% of all deaths. Infection was the second most common cause of death however, only 27% of the patients with infection had significant neutropenia. In patients dying of hemorrhage, only 9% were thrombocytopenic.
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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, such as a cyst or fibroadenoma.
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.
Visible Changes In The Nipple Or Skin
After puberty, your nipples remain fairly consistent in shape, size and color. Generally, there shouldnt be any sudden changes with your nipples or skin. But if there are any visible changes, such as a red, itchy or scaly rash inversion or sucking-in of the nipple dimpling, puckering or other changes in the skin on or around the nipple, you should see your doctor.
As breast cancer progresses, it grows and pushes other things out of the way, Dr. Duncan says. This can cause changes in the breast, skin and nipple as the breasts internal structure changes.
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What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- A change in the breast or nipple appearance
- Any type of nipple dischargeparticularly clear discharge or bloody discharge
- Skin irritation, such as redness, thickening or dimpling of the skin
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be looked at by a healthcare professional.
- Ages 40-44: Women should have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
- Ages 45-54: Women should get a mammogram every year.
- Women age 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year or choose to continue annual mammograms.
All women should understand what to expect when getting a mammogram for breast cancer screening what the test can and cannot do.
How To Handle The Warning Signs
Having any of these signs or symptoms does not mean you have breast cancer. Cysts, infections and other non-cancerous breast conditions also may cause symptoms.
However, do call your doctor right away if you have symptoms or any time you notice unusual changes in how your breasts look or feel. Dont wait and see if the changes go away. Its important to find out what is causing these changes. If you do have breast cancer, early detection can make treatment easier and more successful.
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Breast Cancer Cell Lines
Part of the current knowledge on breast carcinomas is based on in vivo and in vitro studies performed with cell lines derived from breast cancers. These provide an unlimited source of homogenous self-replicating material, free of contaminating stromal cells, and often easily cultured in simple standard media. The first breast cancer cell line described, BT-20, was established in 1958. Since then, and despite sustained work in this area, the number of permanent lines obtained has been strikingly low . Indeed, attempts to culture breast cancer cell lines from primary tumors have been largely unsuccessful. This poor efficiency was often due to technical difficulties associated with the extraction of viable tumor cells from their surrounding stroma. Most of the available breast cancer cell lines issued from metastatic tumors, mainly from pleural effusions. Effusions provided generally large numbers of dissociated, viable tumor cells with little or no contamination by fibroblasts and other tumor stroma cells.Many of the currently used BCC lines were established in the late 1970s. A very few of them, namely MCF-7, T-47D, MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3, account for more than two-thirds of all abstracts reporting studies on mentioned breast cancer cell lines, as concluded from a Medline-based survey.
Your Breast Is Changing Colors
Another symptom of inflammatory breast cancer is when your breast skin turns pink or reddish on more than half the breastsomething that can be hard to tell in those with darker skin tones. Sometimes these changes in coloration can be difficult to find in African Americans and in obese patients with very large breasts,Ricardo H. Alvarez, MD, leads the Breast Cancer Center Institute at Cancer Treatment Centers of America , said on the CTCA website. And for harmful habits you should be aware of, check out 30 Things You Had No Idea Could Cause Cancer.
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What Are The Signs That Breast Cancer Has Spread
Metastatic breast cancer is a secondary cancer the cancerous cells originate in breast tissue and then travel to other parts of the body. The most common areas of breast cancer metastasis are the bones, lungs and liver.
Following an initial breast cancer diagnosis, a patient will receive a personalized monitoring plan for metastatic reoccurrence from their care team. Depending on the specific parts of the body affected, the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can vary.
What Are The 12 Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The 12 signs of breast cancer include swelling or thickening of the breast, dimpling of the breast skin, nipple crust, redness or heat of breast skin, new nipple discharge that is not breast milk , skin sores, bumps, growing veins on the breast, sunken nipple, changes in the size or shape of the breast
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How Breast Cancer Spreads
Breast cancer can spread when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph system and then are carried to other parts of the body.
The lymph system is a part of your body’s immune system. It is a network of lymph nodes , ducts or vessels, and organs that work together to collect and carry clear lymph fluid through the body tissues to the blood. The clear lymph fluid inside the lymph vessels contains tissue by-products and waste material, as well as immune system cells.
The lymph vessels carry lymph fluid away from the breast. In the case of breast cancer, cancer cells can enter those lymph vessels and start to grow in lymph nodes. Most of the lymph vessels of the breast drain into:
- Lymph nodes under the arm
- Lymph nodes inside the chest near the breastbone
- Lymph nodes around the collar bone
If cancer cells have spread to your lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that the cells could have traveled through the lymph system and spread to other parts of your body. Still, not all women with cancer cells in their lymph nodes develop metastases, and some women with no cancer cells in their lymph nodes might develop metastases later.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are
- New lump in the breast or underarm .
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
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Changes In The Skin Texture On Or Around Breast: Dimpling
Dimpling of the skin could suggest that the tiny channels in the breast, called lymph vessels, which help get rid of waste products from the body, have become blocked. This causes the breast to become inflamed and swollen and a large area of skin to develop little dimples, like orange peel. In some cases, this is a sign of a type of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldnt Ignore
Most breast cancer symptoms are discovered by women during regular dailyactivities like bathing. Knowing how your breasts look and feel, andbeing alert for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump,can help you detect the disease early, when its easiest to treat.
Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or conditions that are less worrying than breast cancer. However, if you experience any of the following breast cancer symptoms, even if they seem mild, see your doctor.
- A lump in the breast or armpit is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Patients often describe this as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. Unless you have small breasts or the lump is very large, you probably wont be able to see it.
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
Though rare, men can also get breast cancer. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a lump, discharge or dimpling.
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Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Pinpointing breast cancer in its earliest stages isnt easy because breast cancer signs and symptoms are different for everyone. Sometimes there is a palpable lump or tenderness. Very often, there is neither. Generally, breast cancer shows no symptoms in the early stage.
However, there are certain changes in the breast that may indicate breast cancer in both men and women.
Whether you are a man or a woman, its important to become familiar with your breasts so you can recognize when changes occur and seek timely treatment. Know the facts and understand your risk factors for the disease, such as genetics and family history, by reviewing these frequently asked questions.
What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
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How Does Breast Cancer Start
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.
Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Symptoms Specific To Invasive And Non
Breast cancer is a complex condition for more information, please refer to our breast cancer page.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is a specific type of carcinoma in which the cells that line your milk ducts have become cancerous, but the abnormal cells have not spread into the nearby breast tissue. Because the cancer cells have not invaded nearby tissue, doctors consider DCIS to be non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast tumors can vary from one person to the next, and vary from one type of breast cancer to the next, but some of the most common early signs of breast cancer can include:
- Swelling, redness, or other visible skin changes occurring in just one breast or both breasts
- A change in the shape of one or both of your breasts, or an increase in size
- Discharge other than milk from your nipple
- Changes in the appearance of one or both of your nipples
- General pain in any area of your breast
- Lumps or bumps that you can feel on or deep inside the breast
In another type of breast cancer, known as lobular carcinoma in situ , abnormal cells form in the glands that produce milk. While LCIS involves the development of abnormal cells in the breast, it is not a type of cancer a diagnosis of LCIS does mean you have an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
Where Breast Cancer Starts
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. The breast is an organ that sits on top of the upper ribs and chest muscles. There is a left and right breast and each one has mainly glands, ducts, and fatty tissue. In women, the breast makes and delivers milk to feed newborns and infants. The amount of fatty tissue in the breast determines the size of each breast.
The breast has different parts:
- Lobules are the glands that make breast milk. Cancers that start here are called lobular cancers.
- Ducts are small canals that come out from the lobules and carry the milk to the nipple. This is the most common place for breast cancer to start. Cancers that start here are called ductal cancers.
- The nipple is the opening in the skin of the breast where the ducts come together and turn into larger ducts so the milk can leave the breast. The nipple is surrounded by slightly darker thicker skin called the areola. A less common type of breast cancer called Paget disease of the breast can start in the nipple.
- The fat and connective tissue surround the ducts and lobules and help keep them in place. A less common type of breast cancer called phyllodes tumor can start in the stroma.
- Blood vessels and lymph vessels are also found in each breast. Angiosarcoma is a less common type of breast cancer that can start in the lining of these vessels. The lymph system is described below.
To learn more, see Types of Breast Cancer.