What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer and the Treatment for Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast tissue. It is one of the most common types of cancer in women, but it can also occur in men. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, after lung cancer. Early detection is key to successful treatment and survival, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to get regular screenings.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. However, not all breast lumps are cancerous. In fact, most breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). A breast lump may be cancerous if it is hard, irregular in shape, and does not move when you touch it. Other signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:

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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer and the Treatment for Breast Cancer?

  • Swelling of the breast or surrounding tissue
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Redness or flaky skin on the breast
  • A nipple that turns inward or changes shape
  • Nipple discharge (fluid coming from the nipple)
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in the breast or nipple

It is important to note that these signs and symptoms may also be present in benign breast conditions, such as fibrocystic breasts or cysts. If you notice any changes in your breasts, it is important to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.

Diagnosis and Testing for Breast Cancer

If you have any of the signs or symptoms listed above, your healthcare provider will likely order tests to determine the cause. These may include a physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound, and/or biopsy.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue. It is used to detect breast abnormalities, such as lumps or masses, that cannot be felt during a physical exam. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the breast tissue. It may be used to determine whether a breast lump is solid or filled with fluid (a cyst). A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of breast tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. This is the only way to definitively diagnose breast cancer.

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Stages of Breast Cancer

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your healthcare provider will determine the stage of your cancer. The stage of a cancer refers to how far it has spread in the body. There are four stages of breast cancer:

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer and the Treatment for Breast Cancer?

  • Stage 0: The cancer is confined to the breast ducts or lobules (glands that produce milk). This is also known as non-invasive breast cancer.
  • Stage 1: The cancer is still confined to the breast, but it is larger than in stage 0.
  • Stage 2: The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the underarm area.
  • Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the surrounding breast tissue or chest wall.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, or lungs. This is also known as metastatic breast cancer.

Treatment for Breast Cancer

The treatment for breast cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors, such as your age, overall health, and personal preferences. Common treatments for breast cancer include:

  • Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. There are several types of breast cancer surgery, including a lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous tumor and some surrounding tissue), a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast), and a double mastectomy.
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