Let’s get a pickup line, “Keep the lumps out your cups! “.
And in all true reality, you better do. Breast cancer usually begins in a small, confined area in the or glands. They produce milk (lobular carcinoma) or the ducts (ductal carcinoma), which carry it to the nipple.
It can grow larger in the breast and spread through channels to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs. Cancer may grow and invade tissue around the breast, such as the skin or chest wall. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates — some take years to spread beyond the breast, while others grow and spread quickly.
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Here go the symptoms:
Lump in your breast or underarm
A lump in your breast or underarm that doesn’t go away after your period. This is often the first symptom of breast cancer. Lumps associated with breast cancer are usually painless, although some may cause a prickly sensation. Lumps are usually visible on a mammogram long before you can see or feel them.
Swelling in the armpit, collarbone, or breast
Swelling in your armpit or collarbone could mean breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes in that area. This swelling may come before you feel a lump, so let your doctor know if you notice it. Swelling in your breast might signal an aggressive type of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.
Pain or tenderness in your breast
Although lumps are usually painless, pain or tenderness can be a sign of breast cancer.
A flat or indented area on your breast
This could be a tumour that you can’t see or feel.
You might notice a difference in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of your breast.
A change in your nipple
- Pull inward
- Get dimpled
- Develop sores
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You might notice unusual discharge from your nipple. It could be clear, bloody, or another colour. It’s usually caused by benign conditions, but it could be due to cancer, too.
A marble-like area under the skin
This area will feel different from any other part of either breast.
Call Your Doctor About Breast Cancer If
One or both breasts develop an abnormal lump or pain that doesn’t go away, or look or feel abnormal. The cause often is something other than cancer, but a doctor should check it.
You have swollen lymph nodes in your armpits. Any swelling could be from cancer.
Types of Breast Cancer:
Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer
About 80% of all breast cancers are “ER-positive.” That means the cancer cells grow in response to the hormone estrogen. About 65% of these are also “PR-positive.” They grow in response to another hormone, progesterone.
If your breast cancer has a significant number of receptors for either estrogen or progesterone, it’s considered hormone-receptor-positive.
Tumours that are ER/PR-positive are much more likely to respond to hormone therapy than tumours that are ER/PR-negative.
You may have hormone therapy after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are finished. These treatments can help prevent a return of the disease by blocking the effects of estrogen. They do this in one of several ways.
HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
In about 20% of breast cancers, the cells make too much of a protein known as HER2. These cancers tend to be aggressive and fast-growing.
For women with HER2-positive breast cancers, the targeted drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of cancer coming back. It‘s a standard treatment to give this medication along with chemotherapy after surgery to people with breast cancer that’s spread to other areas. It can also be used for early-stage breast cancer. But there is a small but real risk of heart damage and possible lung damage.
It’s a good idea to know how your breasts normally look and feel so you can notice any changes.
Medical organizations have different recommendations for breast self-exams, though. The American Cancer Society, for example, states that research has not shown a clear benefit of performing regular breast self-exams. Talk with your doctor to get a better sense of what’s right for you.
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A mammogram can show breast lumps up to 2 years before they can be felt. Different tests help determine if a lump may be cancer. Ones that aren’t cancerous tend to have different physical features than ones that are. Imaging tests such as mammograms and ultrasounds can often see the difference.
When and if you need this imaging, tests are a personal decision between you and your doctor. Most women don’t start having mammograms until their at least 40. If you’re at higher risk for breast cancer, your doctor may want you to start at a younger age.
This test combines several images of your breast into one to create a detailed picture. It’s more often used after you’re diagnosed to see how far cancer has spread, but your doctor might combine it with a mammogram as a screening test if:
- You’re at high risk for breast cancer.
- You have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
- Your breasts are dense (there are a lot of ducts, glands, and fibrous tissue but little fat) and mammograms didn’t find any of these in previous breast cancer.
- You have dense breasts, a strong family history of breast cancer, and you’ve had precancerous breast changes like atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.
- You have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
- You had radiation treatments to your chest area before you were 30.