Breast Cancer

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Did you know that 60% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no apparent risk factors?

A number of circumstances can put someone at risk of developing certain illnesses, and these are called risk factors. In the case of breast cancer, being overweight, consuming a high fat diet, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, practicing a sedentary life style, or having a history of breast cancer in a close family member, can put a woman at high risk of suffering cancer herself. However more than half of breast cancer patients do not share any of these risk factors. So the moral of the story is to be aware and alert to any warning signs or symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis, the less complicated, and the more successful breast cancer therapy is.

Most breast cancers originate either from the glands for milk production, or in the ducts that connect the lobules to the nipple. The remainder of the breast is made up of fatty, connective, and lymphatic tissues.

Cancer cells originate from apparently healthy tissues and, in the case of breast cancer, cancer cells can arise from the actual glandular tissue that produces milk, or from the network of ducts that carry milk from the gland to the nipple. Because of the type of cells they come from, we call them “carcinomas,” a term that refers to the glandular origin of the tumor. It is easy to detect very early the presence of a mass or lump within the breast using one's fingers for a careful examination. It is advisable for a woman to perform such an examination on a regular basis, so as to be familiar with the shape of her breast and tissue within. Early detection can make all the difference.

Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and most easily treated. 

The earlier the better, is an absolute truth and a life saving fact when it comes to cancer diagnosis. You have to consider that we are talking of an aggressor that gives you no warning, and by the time it has made its presence very clear, you have wasted valuable time and countless opportunities to defeat cancer, with low collateral damage and, more importantly, with great results.

Today, we use surveillance cameras to detect a possible breach in security. Think of your hands as the camera frequently used to examine your breasts for a possible intruder. Do it frequently and thoroughly. Be consistent, examine yourself regularly, and keep information about the date and result of each examination.

The most common physical sign is a painless lump.

Most women know about their breast cancer by discovering a lump in their breasts or the underarm. The vast majority of these lumps are completely painless, but swelling or redness may be present. Careful self-examination is vital. You should not wait for obvious symptoms. You have to actively search for lumps, and they can be very small. So being very thorough pays big dividends. The smaller the lump the better chance you have for success, achieved with lower cost, less suffering, and fewer interventions.

Sometimes breast cancer spreads under the arm to the lymph nodes causing a lump or swelling, even before the original breast tumor is large enough to be felt.

 Breast cancer can start spreading to other tissues before the primary cancer or lump can be detected. Cancer cells migrate through the body primarily following the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system of the breast drains to the underarm where it joins drainage from other areas, so it is not surprising that some of the first signs of breast cancer spreading are in the lymph nodes of the underarm. When cancer cells get to the lymph nodes, they start creating a new lump which is the results of the replication of the cancer and the inflammatory reaction of the lymphatic system. Usually, underarm lumps are formed some time after the development of a mammary lump, but in some cases we can detect these masses before the original tumor lets its presence be known. Careful examination and imaging techniques may be necessary to identify the malignant primary cancer.

The preceding description can help a woman be aware. She should be on the lookout for any abnormality before showering and getting dressed. As a woman you should get familiar with your breasts and underarms. It is so simple and yet it can save your life.

Other signs and symptoms may include breast pain or heaviness; persistent changes, such as swelling, thickening, or redness of the skin; and nipple abnormalities, such as spontaneous discharge (especially if bloody), and erosion, or retraction.

In some cases, particularly in breast cancers very close to the skin or with an important inflammatory component, these factors can include all the symptoms that are common to inflammation: heaviness, swelling, redness and thickening of the skin, local pain and even discharge through the nipple of some fluid that in some cases can be bloody. When the cancer is close to the skin, the nipple can “pull” sideways or into the breast creating what is called a “retraction”.

Any changes you did not detect on your previous examination should be reviewed by your physician as soon as possible. If this is indeed an inflammatory problem, effective therapy is available. However if these are symptoms of breast cancer, once again, the sooner you start a treatment program, the easier it is to stop the progress of cancer, and the chance of success is higher.

If you have questions or doubts, you can share them with our doctors: call our toll free number (800-701-7345), drop us an email ( BioCare is always at your disposal. We are here to help