Receiving a cancer diagnosis, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your first step on this cancer journey is to learn more about the cancer you have been diagnosed with. We want to help you learn more so that you can collaborate with us as we create a personalized cancer plan suited to you and your needs.
About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer forms when cells in the breast grow at a rate that is out of control. These overactive cells then form a tumor that forms into a lump. The tumor is malignant, or cancerous, if the cells begin to invade the surrounding tissue or metastasize and spread to other areas of the body. Although breast cancer most commonly occurs in women, it can also happen in men too.
There are many places breast cancer can form. A common area are ducts that carry breast milk to the nipples. This is called ductal cancers. Some breast cancers also form in the glands that actually make breast milk. This is called lobular cancer. There are additional cancers that begin in other areas of the breast; however, these are rare. Such cancers are sarcomas and lymphomas.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
It is important to be aware of your breasts in relation to your health. This means knowing what they normally look and feel like. If you have any new lumps or masses in your breasts it may be cancer. Masses can be painful, or painless, tender, soft, round, and can have irregular edges. Remember mammograms do not always find breast cancer, so watch your breasts for any changes.
As stated earlier, one of the most common symptoms of breast cancer is finding a lump in your breast. Here is what you should look for.
Change in how the breast and nipple feel
See your doctor if your nipples become tender, or you find a lump, or thickened skin near your breast or underarm. You may also notice a change in the texture of your skin, similar to that of an orange peel. If you feel any type of lump, no matter the size, it is important to get checked by a healthcare professional.
Change in Breast and Nipple Appearance
Be aware of any unexplained changes including swelling, shrinkage, and dimpling. This includes any asymmetry in the breast, or scaly, red, or swollen skin. A warning sign is also if the nipple is inverted, or turned slightly inward.
Clear or bloody fluid coming from the nipple
Any nipple discharge should be examined, particularly if the discharge is clear, or bloody. In addition, milky discharge from women who are not breastfeeding should be checked by a doctor, though it may not be linked to breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Be proactive by being familiar with your breasts and checking them constantly for any new changes such as bumps, lumps, or masses. During the ages of 20 to 29 you should have a clinical breast exam every one to three years. If you are age 40 or older, you should receive both a clinical breast exams and mammogram every year. However, if you are at an increased risk of having breast cancer, you should begin screening even earlier, and get tested more often.
If you do find a lump in your breast please understand that not all lumps are cancer- some are benign. Benign breast tumors are not life threatening, and will not spread outside of the breast area. Regardless, every lump, or physical change that occurs in your breast should be checked by your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis.
Understanding your Breast Cancer Diagnosis
There are a variation of medical terms used to describe breast cancer. When understanding the specific cancer within a patient doctors will use the information collected from the biopsy. Please know that additional test may be needed to get a clearer understanding of what stage your cancer is in, and how to best go about treating it. There are multiple grades of breast cancer, as well as stages and outlooks. There are several types of breast cancer. The most common include Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), Invasive Breast Cancer (IDC/ILC), Angiosarcoma of the Breast, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and Paget Disease of the Nipple.
Breast Cancer Treatments
As previously stated, the type of breast cancer treatment you will need is dependent on many factors, such as the stage of your breast cancer, your age and health, and of course your medical preferences. The doctors and nurses at Altus Cancer Center will be a prominent source in learning more about your cancer. We will explain your diagnosis, treatment options, and explain the progress that takes place along the way. At Altus Cancer Center, we develop a personalized approach based on your specific needs. In addition, we also offer additional resources including the emotional support you will need for your cancer journey.
What can we do for you?
We know your cancer diagnosis is frightening and overwhelming. Our nurses and expert physicians will be with you every step of the way as we create a personalized plan suited to you, and your needs. We also will provide you with the emotional support and resources designed to help you and your loved ones through your cancer journey.
Contact Us to schedule an appointment
Thank you for choosing Altus Cancer Center to care for you during this time. Through this journey we want to provide the Altus touch to both patients and families through our caring staff. Please contact us for any, and all questions.
You can also schedule a appointment at Altus Cancer Center by phone.
Baytown | 281-837-7600 (ext 2241)