Breast Cancer

Overview and Definition

Breast cancer is cancer of the breast and it grows within the breast tissues and cells. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer that a woman is diagnosed with. The first type and most common type is skin cancer. When you think of breast cancer, you more than likely think that it only happens to women, but in fact breast cancer can occur in men as well.

A more invasive type of breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond lobules and breast ducts to surrounding tissue. Due to an increase in public breast cancer support, which has helped to improve education, diagnosis and treatment, survival rates for patients diagnosed with breast cancer have greatly improved with a decline in deaths. 

Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The first symptom that you may think of with breast cancer is probably a lump in the breast, but surprisingly there are many more symptoms as well. Just because you dont have a noticeable lump does not mean that you do not have breast cancer. Common signs and symptoms of breast cancer can and may include:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast or your underarm area. The lump may be painless and is typically visible on a mammogram even if you can-not feel a lump.
  • Swelling in your armpit area.
  • Although breast cancer lumps are typically painless, pain and/or tenderness in the breast may be a breast cancer symptom.
  • An indentation of the breast.
  • Change in the temperature, size, texture or contour of the breast.
  • A change in the nipple.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer may be diagnosed with any one of these procedures and tests:

  • A breast exam by your doctor.
  • A mammogram, which is an x-ray of the breast.
  • An ultrasound of the breast.
  • Removal of breast cells through a biopsy.
  • An MRI

Treatment for Breast Cancer

Treatment for breast cancer may include:

  • Surgery:  Removal of the breast cancer a lumpectomy; removal of the entire breast mastectomy; removal of lymph nodes a sentinel node biopsy; removal of several lymph nodes an axillary lymph node dissection; removal of both breasts.
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Targeted Drugs
  • Alternative Medicine

Coping with the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Understandably, you may be highly-emotional and overwhelmed with your breast cancer diagnosis and this is why its important to learn how to cope. Every woman is different and will find her own way to cope with this type of cancer diagnosis, but here are some ideas that may help you along the way:

  • Learn everything that you can about breast cancer educate yourself and arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is power.
  • Motivate yourself for survival by thinking positive and speaking with breast cancer survivors.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how youre feeling. If youre not comfortable speaking with a loved one, then consider a professional who is trained in these things.
  • Do not push your loved ones away keep them close and let them help if you need help.
  • Because of the fact that breast cancer may affect your self-esteem and self-image, its important to remain intimate with your partner. This may be a tough one, but its important.