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Skin Changes Breast Cancer Symptoms

Swelling In Your Breasts

Skin can show early signs of breast cancer

Sometimes breasts get tender and swollen during pregnancy, but if youre not pregnant and find the size of your breasts is changing, it warrants a second look.

The swelling of one or both breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer. Breasts are often not identical to each other, so a variation in size between the two is normal. However, if you notice one of your breasts is looking larger than usual, it could be due to swelling, which could be a sign of something amiss.

A tightness or tingling feeling in the skin, coupled with the change in size, most likely means swelling is present.

Breast Lumps Or Lumpiness

Many women find their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture.

Some women have more lumpiness in their breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then its likely normal breast tissue.

Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast or that feel like a change should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition, such as a cyst or fibroadenoma.

See a health care provider if you:

  • Find a new lump that feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Find a new lump that feels different from your other breast
  • Feel something thats different from what you felt before

If youve had a benign lump in the past, dont assume a new lump will also be benign. The new lump may not be breast cancer, but its best to make sure.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Ask your healthcare provider about what your cancer diagnosis means for your treatment options and likely outcomes. Questions to ask include:

  • What stage is my breast cancer?
  • Which specialists will be involved in my care?
  • What treatment options would you recommend?
  • What outcomes should I expect from treatment?
  • What are potential side effects or complications related to treatment?
  • Can you connect me with resources ?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of cancerthat spreads quickly. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider immediately if you notice changes in your breasts, especially a change in one breast but not the other. The changes may be a sign of a less serious condition, like an infection. Still, IBC spreads fast. If your symptoms are a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, youll want to begin treatment as early as possible. Dont delay seeking care that can potentially improve your prognosis.

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How Is Electrochemotherapy Given

The chemotherapy is usually given into a vein . It can also be given by injection directly into the area of cancer being treated .

Bleomycin is the chemotherapy drug most commonly used. Cisplatin, another chemotherapy drug, may also be used.

A short time after the chemotherapy drug is given, electrical impulses are given directly to the area using an electrode with the help of a specially designed needle probe. The electrode may be applied a number of times to make sure the whole area is treated. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes but will depend on the size of the area being treated.

Its usually given under general anaesthetic in the operating theatre. Sometimes local anaesthetic may be used depending on the size of the area or how many areas need to be treated. As electrochemotherapy treatment can be painful, you will be given pain relief before and after the treatment.

Many people need only a single treatment of electrochemotherapy, although it can be repeated in the same area or used to treat a different area.

Treatment is usually carried out as an outpatient or day case, though some people may need to stay in hospital overnight. This depends on how much treatment is needed and your general health.

Afterwards, the area will often be covered with a dressing that may need changing regularly. The treated areas will usually scab over. Often the areas look worse before any improvement is seen.

Support For Living With Secondary Breast Cancer

Skin Changes Breast Cancer Symptoms Pictures

Everyones experience of being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer is different. For many people, uncertainty can be the hardest part of living with secondary breast cancer.

You may find it helpful to talk to someone else whos had a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.

Chat to other people living with secondary breast cancer on our online Forum.

Meet other people with a secondary diagnosis and get information and support at a Living with Secondary Breast Cancer group.

You can also call Breast Cancer Nows Helpline free on 0808 800 6000.

Image credit: graphic adapted from: Sersa et al.Electrochemotherapy in treatment of tumours. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2008. 34: 232240. Adapted by permission under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license:creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0.

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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear when the tumour grows large enough to be felt as a lump in the breast or when the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as breast cancer.

The most common symptom of ductal carcinoma is a firm or hard lump that feels very different from the rest of the breast. It may feel like it is attached to the skin or the surrounding breast tissue. The lump doesnt get smaller or come and go with your period. It may be tender, but its usually not painful. .

Lobular carcinoma often does not form a lump. It feels more like the tissue in the breast is getting thicker or harder.

Other symptoms of ductal and lobular breast cancer include:

  • a lump in the armpit
  • changes in the shape or size of the breast
  • changes to the nipple, such as a nipple that suddenly starts to point inward
  • discharge that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it or that has blood in it

Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs. Late symptoms of breast cancer include:

Warmth Redness And Pain

Warmth, redness and pain in the breast typically indicates mastitis, an infection or inflammation of the breast that is very common in breastfeeding women. Mastitis can be easily treated, and your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Rarely, this may be due to an inflammatory breast cancer , and so it should be addressed promptly by your doctor.

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Finding A Health Care Provider

If you dont have a health care provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend.

You can also call your local health department or a nearby hospital or clinic. If you have insurance, your insurance company may also have a list of health care providers in your area.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms

8 Signs that You have Cancer

A rare type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer can have different symptoms to other types.

Your whole breast might look red and inflamed and feel sore. The breast might feel hard and the skin might look like orange peel.

See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

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What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean

Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.

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How Does It Work

Electrical impulses change the outer layer of the cancer cells in the treated area causing gaps, called pores, to open up on the cells surface for a short time. This allows the chemotherapy drug to enter the cancer cells more easily. Once the pores close, the chemotherapy is sealed inside the cells.

The dose of chemotherapy drug is much lower than when its given to treat the whole body.

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What Is The Prognosis For People With Inflammatory Breast Cancer

IBC usually develops quickly and spreads to other tissues outside of your breast. It often returns after treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to managing the condition as effectively as possible.

Because IBC spreads quickly and is found later than other cancers, the outlook for people with this condition is generally not as good as for different types of breast cancer. Still, some people live many years after an IBC diagnosis. Your healthcare provider can explain your prognosis to you.

What If You Find A Lump

Breast Cancer : Symptoms and Signs. Lets bust the myth!  SSIVIX Lab

First, donât panic. Eighty percent of breast lumps arenât cancerous. They often turn out to be harmless cysts or tissue changes related to your menstrual cycle. But let your doctor know right away if you find anything unusual in your breast. If it is cancer, the earlier itâs found, the better. And if it isnât, testing can give you peace of mind.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are

  • New lump in the breast or underarm .
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

A Lump In A Breast Or An Armpit

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in a breast or an armpit. The lump may be clearly visible or can be felt by hand when examined. Sometimes the first symptom of breast cancer may be a metastasis in the lymph node, which can feel like a lump in the armpit.

It is wise to bear in mind, however, that not all nodules in the breast area mean cancer. Changes in a breast may also result from benign cysts.

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms

Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.

  • If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
  • If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
  • If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
  • If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
  • If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.

How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated

Early Signs of Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer treatments use a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy for breast cancer uses drugs to kill cancer cells. You may receive chemo intravenously or as a pill. Chemotherapy shrinks cancer cells so theyre easier to remove during surgery. You may also receive chemotherapy after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may remain after surgery.
  • Surgery: Surgery removes your entire affected breast and nearby lymph nodes. More conservative treatments that remove tissue while sparing your breast arent effective with IBC. The cancer spreads too quickly.
  • Radiation therapy:Radiation therapy uses a machine to direct energy toward the cancer, destroying the cancer cells. After surgery, you may receive radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells that surgery may have missed.

Depending on the characteristics of your cancer cells , you may receive treatments like targeted therapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy.

Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you take part in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a study that tests the safety and effectiveness of new cancer treatments. Treatments that are successful in clinical trials often become the standard treatment approaches.

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Who Is Likely To Have Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Anyone can develop inflammatory breast cancer, but certain factors may raise your risk.

  • Gender: IBC can affect people of all genders, but its more common in women and people assigned female at birth .
  • Age: People with IBC tend to be younger than people with other forms of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women and people AFAB who are younger than 40. The median age of diagnosis is 57.
  • Race: People who are Black are more likely to get diagnosed with IBC than people who are white.
  • Weight: People with obesity or overweight are more likely to get diagnosed than people with a BMI that falls within the normal range.

Changes To The Skins Texture

Breast cancer can cause changes and inflammation in skin cells that can lead to texture changes. Examples of these texture changes include scaly skin around the nipple and areola, as though the skin is sunburned or extremely dry, and skin thickening in any part of the breast.

These changes may also cause itching, which people often associate with breast cancer, although it is not common.

These skin changes may be symptomatic of a breast cancer type called Pagets disease.

Texture changes can also occur as a result of benign skin conditions, including dermatitis and eczema.

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Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast

Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.

Breast Cancer: Why Me

Breast Cancer

The most obvious risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman. Men get the disease, too, but itâs about 100 times more common in women. Other things that make it more likely include being over age 55 or having a close relative who had the disease. Still, up to 80% of women with breast cancer have no family history of the illness.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer symptoms vary widely from lumps to swelling to skin changes and many breast cancers have no obvious symptoms at all.

In some cases, a lump may be too small for you to feel or to cause any unusual changes you can notice on your own. Often, an abnormal area turns up on a screening mammogram , which leads to further testing.

In other cases, however, the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But sometimes cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded.

  • a lump in the underarm area

These changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous, such as an infection or a cyst. Again, its important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor.

Its smart to perform a monthly breast self-exam so you are familiar with your breasts and have a better chance of noticing any changes. And you should visit your doctor if you experience breast changes.

If you’re over 40 or at a high risk of breast cancer, you should also have an annual mammogram and physical exam by a doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better your chances of successful treatment.

Last updated on June 29, 2022, 3:03 PM

Be Aware Of Your Breasts To Detect Breast Cancer Symptoms Early

Studies show that regular breast self-exams are not the best way to detect breast cancer early.

What does work? Being aware of how your breasts look and feel and seeing a doctor as soon as you notice changes or abnormalities.

The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activities like showering, applying deodorant or even scratching, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center.

Bevers advises women to see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, no matter how mild they may seem.

You dont need to wait for any particular size or severity of symptoms to get checked out, she says. “The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the better our chances of treating it successfully.”

And you shouldnt ignore symptoms just because you breasts don’t hurt. Pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, she says.

The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activitieslike showering, applying deodorant or even scratching.

Therese Bevers, M.D.

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