A Visual Guide to Breast Cancer

Your doctor may order an extra test that takes pictures of the inside of your body. A breast ultrasound can help find cysts, fluid-filled sacs that most often aren’t cancer. You might get an MRI along with a mammogram as part of your routine testing if you have a higher risk of breast cancer.

This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells anywhere in the body. They’re often given by IV, but they can be taken by mouth or a shot. You might have it before surgery to shrink a large tumor or after to lower the odds of your cancer coming back. In women with advanced breast cancer, chemo can help control the cancer’s growth. Side effects may include hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and a higher risk of infection.

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Symptoms – Breast cancer in women

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation: “Breast Cancer Detection.”

Some types of breast cancer are fueled by the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Your doctor will test for hormone receptors — proteins that pick up signals from the hormone that tell cells to grow. A biopsy can show if a tumor has receptors for estrogen (it’s ER-positive) and progesterone (it’s PR-positive). About 2 out of 3 breast cancers are hormone sensitive. There are several medications that keep the hormones from causing further cancer growth.

This rare, fast-growing type rarely causes a distinct lump. Instead, breast skin can become thick, red, and look pitted, like an orange peel. The area might also feel warm or tender and have small bumps that look like a rash.

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Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

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The odds of beating breast cancer are strongly tied to how early you find it. The American Cancer Society says 99% of women with stage I breast cancer live at least 5 years, and many women in this group remain cancer-free for good. The more advanced the cancer, the lower this figure becomes. By Stage IV, the 5-year survival rate drops to 29%. But these rates will rise as more effective treatments are found.

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It’s important to be breast aware so you notice any changes as soon as possible.

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There are many types of breast cancer surgery, from taking out the area around the lump (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery) to removing the entire breast (mastectomy.) Talk about the pros and cons of each with your doctor to decide what’s right for you.

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Get to know what is normal for you – for instance, your breasts may look or feel different at different times of your life. This will make it easier to notice potential problems.

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This treatment kills cancer cells with high-energy rays. It may be used after breast cancer surgery to wipe out any cancer cells that remain near the tumor site. Sometimes, it is given during breast conserving surgery to the area where the tumor was removed. It might be paired with chemotherapy to treat cancer that has spread to other body parts. Side effects include fatigue and swelling or a sunburn-like feeling where you were treated.

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