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When You Find Out You Have Breast Cancer

Were Her2 Tests Performed On My Tissue Sample

Finding Out You Have Breast Cancer

HER2 is a type of growth signal receptor, or antenna that may be present on your breast cancer cells. About 25 percent of breast cancers are HER2-positive, meaning the cancer cells make too much of a protein called HER2/neu, which indicates that the cancer may be more aggressive. If your cancer is HER2-positive, this helps doctors better predict whether the cancer may respond to certain targeted therapies.

Personal Stories About Preventing Breast Cancer

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

“After I got over the shock of finding out that I have a BRCA gene change, I decided I would have surgery. But which one? What a tough choicehave my breasts removed or go into early menopause by having my ovaries removed. I finally chose to have my ovaries removed. I feel like that was the best step for me. My husband and I were done having children. Menopause hasn’t been so bad. I was going to have to go through it sometime anyway. And I’d rather be in menopause than have cancer.”

Selah, age 39

“I have a fairly strong family history of breast cancer, but I don’t think surgery is for me. I am taking tamoxifen to prevent cancer.”

Adrianna, age 34

“I have tested positive for a BRCA gene change, so my risk for cancer is very high. I’m determined to do everything I can to keep from getting breast and ovarian cancer. I recently had my ovaries removed, and I am scheduled to have my breasts removed later this year. Just having taken that first step has made me feel much better about my future.”

Fran, age 40

June, age 25

Other Types Of Breast Cancer

Other less common types of breast cancer include invasive lobular breast cancer, which develops in the cells that line the milk-producing lobules, inflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease of the breast.

It’s possible for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph nodes or the bloodstream. If this happens, it’s known as “secondary” or “metastatic” breast cancer.

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Living With Breast Cancer

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can affect daily life in many ways, depending on what stage it’s at and the treatment you will have.

How people cope with the diagnosis and treatment varies from person to person. There are several forms of support available, if you need it.

Forms of support may include:

  • family and friends, who can be a powerful support system
  • communicating with other people in the same situation
  • finding out as much as possible about your condition
  • not trying to do too much or overexerting yourself
  • making time for yourself

Find out more about living with breast cancer.

Conflicts Of Interest In Organizations

Be BreastAware

Some critics say that breast cancer awareness has transformed the disease into a market-driven industry of survivorship and corporate sales pitches. Corporate marketing machines promote early detection of breast cancer, while also opposing public health efforts, such as stricter environmental legislation, that might decrease the incidence rate of breast cancer. These critics believe that some of the breast cancer organizations, particularly the highly visible Susan G. Komen for the Cure, have become captive companies that support and provide social capital to the breast cancer industry, including pharmaceutical companies, mammography equipment manufacturers, and pollution-causing industries, as well as large corporations, creating or exacerbating other problems.

However, the primary sponsors are part of the breast cancer industry, particularly cancer drug makers like AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis. Because the national breast cancer organizations are dependent on corporate sponsorships for survival, this situation may represent a conflict of interest that prevents these organizations from representing the needs of current and future people with breast cancer when those needs conflict with the profit-making motives of the corporate sponsors.

The structure of the breast cancer movement may allow large organizations to claim to be the voice of women with breast cancer, while simultaneously ignoring their desires.

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Breast Cancer Survival Rate

Breast cancer survival rates vary widely based on many factors.

Two of the most important factors are the type of cancer you have and the stage of the cancer at the time you receive a diagnosis. Other factors that may play a role include your age, gender, and race.

shows theres a higher mortality rate in non-white people diagnosed with breast cancer compared with white people. One reason for this may be healthcare disparities.

The good news is breast cancer survival rates are improving.

According to the ACS , in 1975, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer in women was 75.2 percent. But for women diagnosed between 2008 and 2014, it was 90.6 percent.

Five-year survival rates for breast cancer differ depending on stage at diagnosis, ranging from 99 percent for localized, early stage cancers to 27 percent for advanced, metastatic cancers.

What Is The Difference Between Radiation And Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves medications delivered by injections or taken in pill form. This type of treatment is circulated throughout the entire body and is generally prescribed by a medical oncologist. Radiation therapy, delivered by a radiation oncologist, uses radiotherapy beams focused on a very specific area of the body in order to deliver high doses of the treatment while reducing the risk of radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

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How Is It Treated

You and your doctor will decide which mix of treatments is right for you based on many things. These include facts about your cancer as well as your family history, other health problems, and your feelings about keeping your breast.

Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy.

In some cases, you may need to decide whether to have surgery to remove just the cancer or surgery that removes the entire breast .

Treatments can cause side effects. Your doctor can let you know what problems to expect and help you find ways to manage them.

When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Talking with other women who are going through the same thing may help. Your doctor or your local branch of the Canadian Cancer Society can help you find a support group.

After A Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer

You have Breast Cancer…

After finding out you have breast cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. Talk about your treatment options with your doctor, family and friends. Seek as much information as you need. It is up to you how involved you want to be in decisions about your treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women , with 17,354 women diagnosed in 2016. Although rare, breast cancer can also affect men. Early breast cancer can be treated successfully and for most women breast cancer will not come back after treatment.

To ensure that you receive the best care, your specialist will arrange for a team of health professionals based on your needs and preferences

Learn more about the best breast cancer care for each step of your treatment:

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Blue Badge Parking Permits

You may be able to get a Blue Badge if your mobility is affected. You may be given it temporarily if you have primary breast cancer.

People with secondary breast cancer may be eligible for a Blue Badge long-term due to ongoing symptoms such as fatigue or pain. You will need to renew your Blue Badge every three years.

The Blue Badge scheme provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems. It can help the holder park close to a destination, whether they are the driver or passenger.

In England and Wales you can apply for a Blue Badge through your local authority and at

There are separate websites for applications in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

Your local Citizens Advice or Macmillan benefits adviser may be able to help you apply for the Blue Badge.

There are alternative badge schemes for people with restricted mobility who are in areas where the Blue Badge scheme doesnt apply.

What Stage Is My Cancer And What Does It Mean

Breast cancer staging is a way to describe the severity or extent of your cancer. Knowing the cancer stage will help your care team recommend a personalized treatment plan specific to your disease. Breast cancer diagnosed as stage 1 or stage 2 is considered early stage, while stages 3 and 4 are considered advanced.

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Questions To Ask The Doctor

  • Do you know the stage of the cancer?
  • If not, how and when will you find out the stage of the cancer?
  • Would you explain to me what the stage means in my case?
  • Based on the stage of the cancer, how long do you think Ill live?
  • Do you know if my cancer has any of these proteins: estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, or the HER2 protein?
  • What does it mean if my cancer has any of these proteins?
  • What will happen next?

There are many ways to treat breast cancer.

Surgery and radiation are used to treat cancer in a specific part of the body . They do not affect the rest of the body.

Chemotherapy, hormone treatment, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy drugs go through the whole body. They can reach cancer cells almost anywhere in the body.

Doctors often use more than one treatment for breast cancer. The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:

  • The cancer’s stage and grade
  • If the cancer has specific proteins, like the HER2 protein or hormone receptors
  • The chance that a type of treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
  • Your age
  • Other health problems you have
  • Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that come with it

Critical Illness And Breast Cancer

So...I found out I have breast cancer!

Some insurance policies and employment benefit schemes may cover you for critical illness. Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum to help with the costs of a critical illness. Breast cancer is usually classed as a critical illness. If you are unsure, check with your insurance provider or HR department.

If you need any help understanding your insurance or critical illness cover, you can call Macmillans financial guidance team on 0808 808 00 00.

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Should I Consider Participating In A Clinical Trial

Breast cancer treatment has improved tremendously over the years, thanks to advances made possible because of patients who have been willing to participate in studies exploring treatment options, drug protocols or other approaches before they can be granted federal approval. These clinical trials may offer participants new treatment options that may have otherwise been unavailable to them, especially after exhausting conventional treatments. If you qualify for such a trial, ask your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have about participating, so that you may determine if its a good fit for you.

British Columbia Specific Information

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in British Columbia. Breast cancer can occur in men as well, but it is not as common. Tests and treatments for breast cancer vary from person to person, and are based on individual circumstances. Certain factors such as your age, family history, or a previous breast cancer diagnosis may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. For information about your specific risk factors, speak with your health care provider.

A number of screening methods, including mammograms in women, can help find and diagnose breast cancer. The decision to have a mammogram or use any other screening method may be a difficult decision for some women. While screening for breast cancer is often recommended, it is not mandatory. Speak with your health care provider for information regarding how to get screened, the facts and myths about screening tests, how to maintain your breast health, and to get help making an informed decision.

For more information about breast cancer and breast cancer screening, visit:

If you have questions about breast cancer or medications, speak with your health care provider or call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse or pharmacist. Our nurses are available anytime, every day of the year, and our pharmacists are available every night from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.

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What Is Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. It starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control.

Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer is most common in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.

Breast cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body and grow there, too. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis.

Cancer is always named based on the place where it starts. So even if breast cancer spreads to the bones , its still called breast cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts from cells in the bone.

The breast

Encouraging Messages For An Acquaintance Or Coworker With Breast Cancer

Finding out if you have breast cancer or not…how does it affect patients

If you have an acquaintance or coworker dealing with breast cancer, you may not want to overstep your boundaries.

But it can be good for this person to receive encouraging messages from even casual acquaintances who know about the struggle. Here are some examples of positive messages for cancer patients that you may not be as close with.

7. I really admire your work ethic. Even when youre fighting breast cancer, you remain conscientious about work. Youre such a valuable member of our team.

Many cancer patients just want to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. This means they might really throw themselves into their work to show that their illness wont get them off track. Let your coworker know that you see those efforts and you appreciate everything they do.

8. I know that we dont know each other well, but I just wanted to let you know that Im so impressed with you. Youre a true warrior. Im sure you have a lot of support in your life, but let me know if you want me to connect you to the other cancer patients I know.

Having cancer can be a very isolating experience. If you have a coworker or acquaintance going through cancer treatment, you can help her find a solid support system. You may even become part of it thanks to encouraging messages like these.

Even a boss needs to hear that shes doing a good job. If your supervisor is fighting breast cancer, let her know you admire her strength there and in all other aspects of her life.


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‘it Felt Like There Was A Marble In My Breast’

I had fibrous breasts, so even on a good day, my breasts felt like a bag of frozen peas. I had been receiving Bright Pinks Breast Health reminder texts to check my breasts, so I was pretty familiar with how my breasts felt. However one day I felt a lump in my left breast near my nipple, which seemed to be the size of a marble or gumball. This lump felt different. It was hard, but had a bit of a give to it.

“From the moment I felt the lump, I knew I had breast cancer. I went in that day for an appointment with my gynecologist, who ordered a mammogram for later that afternoon. After that, I had a core needle biopsy, but the tests all came back negative. I never felt relieved or satisfied with that result.

“At a later breast check, I felt the lump had grown, so I insisted my gynecologist help me find a surgeon to remove the lump. It was removed and I was told it was stage 2, aggressive triple negative breast cancer. I also discovered I was BRCA-1 positive, meaning I had the breast cancer gene. I cant stress it enough, listen to your body!

Erin Scheithe, DC Education Ambassador for Bright Pink, Washington, D.C.

What Is Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction may help restore the look and feel of the breast after a mastectomy. Many women who have had a breast removed opt for breast reconstructionin some limited cases, at the same time as the mastectomy, but more often after the mastectomy procedure. With immediate reconstruction, a surgeon performs the first stage to rebuild the breast during the same operation as the mastectomy. A method called skin-sparing mastectomy may be used to save enough breast skin to cover the reconstruction.

Breasts may be rebuilt using saline implants or autologous tissue . Most breast reconstructions performed today use breast implants. For some reconstructions, more than one surgery may be needed.

Mastectomy with reconstruction done on the same day is an option for many women, but the best approach for an individual should be determined through a discussion of various options between the patient and her surgeon.

The decision to have reconstruction is a personal one. Some women choose not to have reconstruction. Others believe it helps their appearance and recovery.

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Are There Complications Of Breast Cancer

Possible complications from breast cancer treatment include:

  • Lymphoedema in some cases, removing your lymph nodes may cause swelling, discomfort and pain in the arm, shoulder and upper body.
  • Early menopause certain treatments, especially chemotherapy and hormone therapy, can cause menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes, joint pain, or a change in sex drive, to occur earlier than usual.
  • Anxiety and depression research shows that anxiety and depression are common among women with breast cancer. One study found that up to 50 per cent of women with early breast cancer may experience anxiety and/or depression in the year after diagnosis.


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