What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in cells of the breast. The breast consists of glands that make breast milk, ducts are (small tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple), fatty and connective tissue, blood vessels and lymph vessels.
The milk-producing ducts and glands are the two most likely areas to develop cancerous cells. In rarer cases, breast cancer begins in fatty tissues. Breast cancer may also occur in surrounding lymph nodes, especially those of the underarm.
Studies show one in eight women who live to be age 80 will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. And now a days it is starting to show more common in younger ages such as 20s & 30s. This makes the disease the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
One in four cancers diagnosed in the United States is breast cancer, yet women are not the only ones receiving the diagnosis. Men are learning they have breast cancer each year too.
Breast cancer is one of the most highly publicized cancers in the media today. Local and national breast cancer awareness events are reminders of how commen it truly is. Many of us know someone who previously had or is currently battling breast cancer. Fortunately, advancements in the last couple years in breast cancer research provide new treatment options and technologies for those battling this disease.
Initially, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms. A lump may be too small for you to feel or to cause any unusual changes you can notice on your own or in some cases still to small for hospital devices to pick up. Many may have it checked, not be diagnosed then go back a few months later than be diagnosed anything under a 1cm tumor (may not be picked up by hospital devices as I have come to understand). But Often, an abnormal area turns up on a screening mammogram ( which is harder for women under 35 to get due to insurance rules ) so for under 35 they typically start out with a ultra sound or X-ray of the breast, which leads to further testing. I'm hoping in the next couple years they lower the age level for getting regular mammograms to 20 or 25 year olds as more and more younger women are getting diagnosed.
In some cases, however, the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel. .A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. ( that was my case ). But sometimes cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded. So it's important to have anything unusual checked by your doctor.
Any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
1. Swelling of all or part of the breast
2. Skin irritation or dimpling
3. Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
4. Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
5. A nipple discharge other than breast milk
6. A lump in the underarm area
Also These changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous, such as an infection or a cyst. It’s important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor.
By Breast Cancer/Cancer Advocate Jenna Erin Murray