You’re aware that breast cancer is a cancer disease that occurs in breast tissue. You may even know it can spread, or that men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. But you still have questions.
What are some breast cancer signs and symptoms? The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women, but the most common symptoms are a change in the look or feel of the breast or nipple. If you have any of the following symptoms, see your health care provider:
- Abnormal mammogram or breast ultrasound examination
- Change in breast appearance, shape, or size
- A lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, or redness of the breast
- A new pain in one spot that does not go away
- Breast skin that’s dimpled, puckered, or has an appearance like the skin of an orange
- New pulling in or inverting of the nipple
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- Flaking or peeling of the dark skin (areola) of the nipple
What exactly is breast cancer? Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.
Breast Cancer Detection and Treatment
What can you do to detect breast cancer early? A few simple tests done regularly can increase the chance of detecting cancer early, which increases your chances of recovery.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should receive a clinical breast exam during regular health check-ups at least every three years.This breast and underarm exam is often done during routine physicals and gynecological exams.
- Women ages 40 and older should have an annual breast exam during regular health check-ups and an annual mammogram. Mammograms can often find a change before you can feel it. If you have high breast cancer risk factors, you may be instructed to begin regular mammograms at an earlier age. Discuss with your doctor how often you should have a mammogram.
- Know what’s normal for you. It’s important to become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may help you see or feel changes in your breasts. If you see something unusual, discuss next steps with your doctor.
What are common tests for breast cancer? Fortunately, several specialized diagnostic tests are provided by the experts at ProMedica Breast Care and at locations throughout the ProMedica system:
What are common treatments for breast cancer? The following are the most common treatments for breast cancer and are available throughout the ProMedica system. These treatments are used together or separately, depending on each situation. They are often paired with nutrition, exercise, and support for you and your family.