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Breast Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis34,355 Views
Breast Reconstruction will start in
Breast reconstruction is common after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Watch this for more on breast reconstruction surgery.
Description: It's important to know what to look for when trying to catch breast cancer early on. Watch this video for more information on breast cancer symptoms and diagnosis.
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Breast cancer, the second most common cancer in women, occurs when abnormal cells accumulate and form a mass of tissue, or a tumor. The most common symptom of breast cancer is the presence of a tumor, which may manifest as a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm. Unfortunately, most early breast cancers are silent, and have no symptoms. The breast may change in size or shape, or the skin may appear dimpled or puckered. The nipples may emit a clear or blood discharge, or they may turn inward. A woman with breast cancer may also notice scaly, red, or swollen skin on any part of her breast or nipple. Unfortunately, these symptoms usually don't manifest until breast cancer has grown and even spread in the body. All cancers are easier to treat in their earliest stages, so doctors check women for breast cancer as a precaution, even when symptoms aren't present. This precautionary screening includes a clinical breast exam, where the breasts are felt for changes a patient may have missed. A mammogram, which is an x-ray image of the tissue inside the breasts, is also part of a normal examination, though women are not given this test until their 40s, when breast cancer risk increases. Younger women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors may also choose to have regular mammograms. If an abnormality is found during either of these examinations, a doctor may order imaging tests to get a better look. Imaging tests include ultrasounds, which use sound waves to photograph the breast's interior, and MRIs, which use a magnet and radio waves to do the same thing. Even if some or all of these tests show that breast cancer is LIKELY, only a biopsy can say for SURE. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the suspicious breast cells, which are sent to a lab and examined for the presence of cancer. The GOOD news is that breast cancer survival rates are very high, ranging from 80 to 98%, depending on the stage of cancer and whether its spread. To learn more about breast cancer, check out the breast cancer series on this site and have a conversation with your doctor.