Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer helps not just in detecting the deadly disease but also helps in preventing this tumor to grow bigger. A few years back, diagnosis of breast cancer was only possible with the help of common symptoms the disease shows. However, thanks to the modern science and technology, numerous upgraded medical techniques help doctors to diagnose breast cancer at a very early stage.

These days, several tests for breast cancer are conducted to detect any unwanted tumors. These tests may then depend upon the symptoms faced by the patient as well as the stage at which the breast cancer has reached. As we have seen in our previous post How Breast Cancer, the tumor of breast cancer is usually diagnosed in older ages. However, there is no such hard and fast rule to it. The disease can even be diagnosed at an early age. Hence, periodic screening test are often suggested to patients who have a medical history of the same.

Let us now take a look at some of the most common and highly preferred examinations for the diagnosis of breast cancer.
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Breast Self-Exam: This is one of the widely used breast examination techniques that help you in detecting the tumor in its early stage. However, while some of the tumors are too small to feel as well as some swellings are not cancers, self-exams help you take care of yourself to a great extent.

Clinical Breast Exam: Clinical breast exams are usually conducted by your health care provider. During these exams your breast are checked for any change in size, shape, symmetry and lumps. They may also examine with the change in color, skin rashes, redness and dimpling.

Mammogram: Mammogram is one of the widely used technical methods used to detect breast cancer. It is nothing but a special type of X-ray which help in diagnosing the presence of any lumps, abnormal growths or changes in the breast tissues.

Breast Ultrasound: Usually known as sonography, ultrasound technique makes use of sound ways to outline a part of body. This test is often carried out in support to mammogram. Any positive results in mammogram test are confirmed using the breast ultrasound diagnosis method.

Ductogram: This test is often performed to detect the actual cause of abnormal nipple discharge. This exam makes use of a plastic tube that is placed at the opening of the duct. Then an X-ray image is taken that helps in identify the presence of any mass inside the duct.
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Nipple Discharge Exam: Nipple discharge exam is performed to check the fluid discharged under a microscope. This helps in detecting any abnormal cells thus confirming the disease. However, not all nipple discharges are cancerous but it is still recommended to perform this test if you have any.

Ductal Lavage and Nipple Aspiration: This test is developed for patients who have a medical history of breast cancer and is performed even if the patient faces no symptoms of breast cancer. The test usually undergoes microscopic tests of fluid collected from the nipples.

Biopsy: Biopsy is a sure shot technique to confirm the presence of breast cancer and usually acts as a substitute to mammogram, ultrasound and other tests. In this technique a suspected part is removed and checked under a microscope.

Bone Scan: The bone scan test during the diagnosis of breast cancer is performed only if the disease is detected in the later stages. This examination helps in detecting whether the tumor has spread into the bones. This is a better diagnosis method used than X-rays.

Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan): This test is used to create numerous cross sectional images of your body. The CT scanner machine rotates around your body and takes may pictures that are then studied by the experts to check for any abnormal changes.
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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI scan is used to detect the breast cancer as well as to check whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This diagnosis method makes use of radio waves and strong magnets to take pictures of the body.

It is always recommended to carry out periodic checkups to avoid detection of breast cancer in later stages. The above tests and examinations help in the perfect diagnosis of breast cancer. Hence, you may often ask your health care provider about these test when you visit for your checkup. Hope the above information helps you in educating you on breast cancer and prevents you from this deadly disease.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

What are the symptoms of breast cancer is one of the most asked and one of the most important questions asked in medical science. Breast cancer is a hazardous disease which in stages if untreated can lead to a sudden death. Hence, one must specifically understand this disease and know the major causes of breast cancer, the symptoms of breast cancer, the diagnosis methods, treatments and preventive measures. In this post we would help you in understanding some of the basic and most common symptoms of breast cancer. This information would help you in diagnosing the disorder in its early stages and prevent yourselves for any further complications.
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What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
While talking about the symptoms of breast cancer, even the minutest pain in the breasts must not be neglected. Usually the ignorance of pain in the breasts usually leads to formation of tumors and thus one must ensure that they take proper medical advice for even a slightest pain suffered in the breasts. Following are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer:

A change in how the breasts or nipple feel: Many a times you may notice an unnatural feel in the breasts and is considered to be one of the most common symptoms of breast cancer. In such a case, the patients may encounter following disorders:

  • Change in skin texture of the breast
  • Enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast
  • Nipple tenderness
  • Formation of lump or thickening in or near the breast
  • Formation of lump or thickening underarm area

A change in the breast or nipple appearance: Another common symptom includes abnormal change in the breast or nipple appearance. These unusual changes then include:

  • Any unexplained change in the size and shape of the breast
  • Nipple turns slightly inwards or may get inverted
  • Unexplained swelling of the breast
  • Dimpling anywhere on the breast
  • Unexplained shrinkage of the breast
  • Sudden asymmetry of the breast
  • Skin of breast, areola or nipple becomes scaly, red or swollen

Any nipple discharge (clear or bloody discharge): This symptom should not be confused with breastfeeding. Any unusual discharge from the nipple apart from milk is considered to be dangerous. This discharge then may include:

  • Clear discharge from the nipple
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple

Severe breast pain: Breast pain is another very common breast cancer symptom and is often neglected as chest or physical pain. Many a times, pain in the breasts is not a cause of cancer but sometimes it might be. In breast pain you may encounter:

  • Breasts feel lumpy and tender before a period
  • Benign breast lumps are painful

Breast may appear inflamed, red and hard to feel: This symptom usually is seen in the later stages if the breast cancer is not well treated in its early stages. This disorder may then include:

  • Inflammation
  • Breast becomes red and hard to feel
  • Condition becomes sore and painful
  • Skin may sometimes appear like peel of orange
  • Pores get visible in the inflamed area

Rashes on and around the nipple: This symptom is usually known as the Paget’s disease and is a form of breast cancer. In this disorder, the breast suffers from problems like:

  • Rashes on and around the nipple
  • These rashes may appear scaly
  • The area turns red and itchy
  • The disorder looks similar to eczema

Presence of Lump: This is the most common symptom of breast cancer and is a primary method for diagnosis of breast cancer. These lumps in the breast include:

  • Cysts sacs in the breast tissue that are filled with fluid
  • Collection of a bunch of fibrous glandular tissues
  • Swelling in the area nearby breast

The above mentioned signs will answer the most common question, what are the symptoms of breast cancer? Breast cancer is well treated if diagnosed in its early stages. Hence, the above signs and symptoms of breast cancer will help you recognize this disorder at its earliest and take proper medical treatments for the same. Hope the above information helps you in understanding breast cancer and preventing yourself from this hazardous disease.

Estrogen and Breast Cancer

Estrogen is nothing but one of the most important hormones necessary for the natural development and growth of breasts and other organs that play role in childbearing. The primary use of this hormone is to help control the menstrual cycles and essential for reproduction. However, women’s risk for breast cancer is associated when the estrogen remains in the body for a prolonged period. This article will help you understand several different facts like how estrogen works in the body, how chemicals in the atmosphere affect the estrogen levels in the body, how lifestyle and diet affect the estrogen exposure and many more.
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What is Estrogen?

Estrogen is a hormone which acts as a chemical messenger in the body. Following are some of the important uses of this hormone:

  • Normal sexual development
  • Functioning of female organs which are important for childbearing
  • Regulates the menstrual cycles
  • Normal development of breasts
  • Maintain the heart and healthy bones

Estrogen exposure and women’s risk for breast cancer

There are many reasons why estrogen exposure is implicated along with women’s risk of breast cancer. Since the hormone plays an important role in stimulating breast cell division, its effect on other hormones that encourage breast cell division, the work it performs during the critical periods of breast growth and development and its support of the growth of estrogen responsive tumors.

How lifestyle factors affect levels of estrogen in the body?

Diet and lifestyle are two of the important constraints that affect levels of estrogen in the body. Following is detailed explanation on how diet and other factors affect levels of estrogen in women’s body:

  • Diet: The estrogen is an important hormone in the body. Usually the diets that are low in fat and high in fiber may decrease the levels of this hormone. Thus, certain dietary factors may increase breast cancer risk directly by increasing the estrogen hormone levels in the blood. Excessive intake of fats, which leads to obesity, also increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
  • Body Weight: One of the greatest inventions recently have helped in cracking one of the major symptoms of breast cancer. The research concluded that the weight gain in women just before and after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. Usually the ovary stops generating estrogen after the menopause. On the other hand, women’s body fat is another source from where the estrogen is produced. Hence, a woman with higher level of body fat is expected to have a higher level of these hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
  • Exercise: It has been proved that the women who perform regular exercise are less prone to breast cancer. Regular exercise often helps in reducing the excessive body fat in the body thus reducing the body estrogen levels. Most of the time exercises extend the length of a women’s menstrual cycle. Longer menstrual cycles then corresponds with fewer cycles over a lifetime and fewer cycles can result in less lifetime exposure to estrogen.
  • Alcohol: Excessive intake of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. It has been researched that alcohol increases the amount of estrogen circulation within the women’s body. Hence, one must ensure whether or not and how much to drink.
  • Birth Control Pills: Breast cancer due to birth control pills depends upon the level of estrogen in the pills. Also, the other factors for breast cancer exposure due to birth control pills include the duration of its intake and the age at which these are consumed.
  • Postmenopausal Hormone Treatment: After menopause the women’s ovary stops producing estrogen. The sudden loss of estrogen then leads to the risk of several heart and blood vessel diseases. Several hormone treatments are then used to relieve the discomforting menopausal symptoms. These treatments then raise the risk of breast cancer.

Relationship between breast cancer risk, estrogen and environmental chemicals

The medical science has still not been able to explain half of breast cancer cases, many researches think that chemicals in the environment are responsible for the breast cancer risks. These theories usually depict that the environmental chemicals either mimic the effect of estrogen or affect the levels of estrogen in the body indirectly by disrupting the way estrogen is produced or used in the body.

Conclusion

Estrogen is essential for the normal functioning of a women’s reproductive system and for normal breast development. However, the lifelong exposure to this hormone raises the risk of breast cancer. Understanding how estrogen works within the body, how the chemicals in environment mimic the effects of this hormone, how hormone replacement therapy is related with breast cancer and other factors that generate risk between estrogen and breast cancer risk will help you in preventing yourself from this disease.

What is breast cancer?

A generic and scientific definition for what is breast cancer can be given as, “A malignant tumor (usually a collection of cancer cells) arising from the cells of the breast”. Specifically, the term breast cancer explains us all. However, there are many terminologies that we are unaware of and this ignorance usually leads to getting infected with this deadly disease. In this article, it would be my approach to educated you about exactly what breast cancer is, how is one prone to this disease, breast cancer symptoms, signs, stages, types, risk factors, diagnosis, preventive information and treatment options.

Breast cancer (b.cancer) primarily starts off in the inner lining of the milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. The breast cancer that gets started off in the lobules is known as the lobular carcinoma whereas the one which is developed in the ducts is known as the ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer is believed to be one of the most common invasive cancers in women. The below given image will give you a rough idea about what the breast comprises of and what leads to breast cancer.
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The female breast is made up of the milk producing glands known as lobules, several tiny tubes known as ducts that carry milk from lobules to the nipple and stroma (which comprises of blood vessels, fatty tissues & connective tissues surrounding the ducts and lobules, and lymphatic vessels). Considering b.cancer, the tumor begins to grow in the cells that line the ducts and is known as ductal cancer. Apart from ductal cancer, the tumor may also begin in cells that line the lobules and is named as the lobular cancer. Breast cancer can also start in other tissues but is a very rare case.

The question: what is breast cancer, can be answered completely only when we understand the two different types of this cancer and the difference between it. Following are the two major criteria in which breast cancer gets primarily distinguished:

Non-invasive Breast Cancer: In this type of breast cancer, the cancer remains in its place of origin. This type is usually considered to be the pre-cancerous stage where the abnormal cells remain in a specific location, however, eventually may lead into invasive breast cancer.

Invasive Breast Cancer: This type of cancer occurs when the cancerous cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade the nearby tissues. This invasion further lead the abnormal cells to the lymph nodes, eventually making their way to other organs including bones, lungs or even the liver. The invasive cancer if not treated in early stages can make the cancerous cells travel through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

Many a times, we do not realize of getting infected by this disease until it’s too late. Usually, the signs and symptoms of breast cancer include severe headache or a rash or swelling. However, we do not recognize this to be a symptom for breast cancer and most of the times take pain killers or other medications to get relieved. Hence, women must be very particular with their health and take proper medical consultations whenever they feel abnormal. Following is the list of various signs and symptoms of breast cancer:

  • One of the most primary symptoms of breast cancer includes thickened tissues or formation of lump in the women’s breast
  • Severe pain in armpits or breast which is not related to menstrual period and continues even after the cycle
  • A rash around any or both of the nipples
  • Formation of lump in any of the armpits
  • Clear or bloody fluid discharge that leaks out of the nipple
  • Sudden change in the size and shape of the breast
  • The breast or nipple skin start to peel, scale or flake

Till today, no firm cause of breast cancer has been detected by the medical science. However, some of the common causes amongst breast cancer patients include: age factor, genetics, a history of breast cancer, dense breast tissues, obesity, height, estrogen exposure, excessive alcohol consumption, radiation exposure, etc.

Hope this article has guided you on what is breast cancer. To know more about the causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures look for the respective tabs in the menu bar.

How Breast Cancer

How Breast Cancer? This is one of the biggest questions faced by women all over the world. However, no satisfactory answer can be found on the Internet to this question. The howbreastcancer.com will help you in understanding detailed information about this disease, its symptoms, its major causes, treatments for this disease, precautions to be taken, and answers to other generic questions. Let us now understand some of the basic concepts associated with breast cancer that will make you aware of several scientific terms related to this disease.

What is Breast Cancer?

The answer to this question is as simple as that. Breast cancer is a disease associated with the women breasts. However, it is not just the women that are prone to this disease. This disease is also seen in men but to a smaller extent. The cancer of breast usually originates from the breast tissue which is further divided into two types, the one which forms inner lining of milk ducts (ductal carcinomas) and the other that forms in the lobules that supply the ducts with milk (lobular carcinomas). There are various treatments of breast cancer which are generally implemented according to the stage in which the cancer is.

Looking at the statistics for breast cancer, around 225,000 to 230,000 new cases of breast cancer are estimated to be registered this year in the United States alone. Also the estimate for death victims can be calculated up to 40,000 this year. Thus, understanding the severity of this disease, women must be aware of this disease, its causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures.

Causes of Breast Cancer

One of the most common causes of breast cancer is having a close relative with this disease. The chance of breast cancer increases if your mother, sister, or even your daughter is infected with this disease. Thus, special precautions and preventive measures must be taken in such cases. Some of the other common causes of breast cancer are as follows.

  • Increasing age is another major and common cause of breast cancer. According to several researches and statistics, around 35-40% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed in their old ages.
  • The other common cause of breast cancer is getting diagnosed with breast cancer in one of the breasts. This increases the risk of breast cancer in the other breast or even added cancer in the same breast.
  • Many a times the abnormal proliferation of breast cells also leads to the risk of breast cancer. Thus, women diagnosed with such abnormal breast conditions are prone to this deadly disease.
  • Abnormal menstruation cycles can also cause breast cancer. Various researches have shown that women who started their menstrual cycles before the age of twelve and experienced menopause after the age of fifty-five are at a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Your ethnicity is another important cause of breast cancer. According various studies, white women have higher risk of developing breast cancer. However, tumors within Afro-American women are more aggressive.

The above mentioned are some of the major causes of breast cancer. However several other causes of breast cancer include, exposure to any chest radiations, birth of first child after age of thirty, obesity, excess intake of oral contraceptives, and excessive intake of alcohol.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer gives rise to a formation of lump in your breast. However, not all lumps depict breast cancer. Particular discharge from the nipples, severe pain in breast and nipples, swelling of a certain part of breast are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer. The other symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Formation of lump under the arm that usually continues even after your menstrual cycle
  • Swelling in armpit
  • Tenderness and pain in breast
  • Flattening or indentation of breast
  • Nipple retraction
  • Burning sensation, ulceration, itching, or dimpling sensation

The above mentioned are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer. Women are often suggested to take proper medical advice when they come across any of the above mentioned symptoms.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The diagnosis of breast cancer is carried out using several tests. However, the primary examination of breast cancer diagnosis is carried out using basic hand test. The doctor will often examine your breasts for any abnormal changes, lumps, or other symptoms of breast cancer. If they find any of these symptoms, you would be suggested to carry out some of the below given diagnosis tests:

  • Mammogram
  • Breast Ultra Sound Test
  • Breast Biopsy
  • Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test)
  • Sentinel Node Biopsy
  • Invasive Breast Biopsy
  • Ductal Lavage

The above mentioned tests help in the accurate diagnosis of breast cancer. Thus, the next time your doctor asks you to perform these test, you actually know what these tests are for.

Treatments for Breast Cancer

The treatments for breast cancer usually depend upon the stage at which the breast cancer is diagnosed and the percentage of its recovery. Below are some of the common treatments used for curing breast cancer.

  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Hormonal Therapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Surgery

The breast cancer in its later stages is often treated by a surgery where the cancerous tissues from the breast are removed.

Preventive Measures for Breast Cancer

Various events and programs are organized globally to spread awareness about this disease and control its spread. Some of the common preventive measures for avoiding or reducing the risk of breast cancer are as follows:

  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol
  • Remain physically active
  • Give birth to first child before the age of thirty
  • Breastfeed the children
  • Undergo regular checkups

Breast cancer has seriously become a major issue in medical science. A huge number of women lose their lives every year due to this deadly disease. Thus, women themselves must take care of themselves and avoid getting infected from this disease. The howbreastcancer.com will keep you guiding on information and preventive tips that will help you to remain healthy and overcome this disease.