Breast Cancer Awareness month
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow in an uncontrolled way.
Breasts are made up of lobules and ducts surrounded by fatty and connective tissue. Lobules produce breast milk and ducts carry milk to the nipple.
What are the different types of Breast Cancer?
There are several different types of breast cancer.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) are non-invasive breast cancers that are confined to the ducts or lobules of the breast
- Invasive ductal or lobular carcinoma is an invasive breast cancer that starts in the ducts or lobules of the breast and can spread into the breast tissue. Invasive breast cancer may be confined to the breast and lymph nodes in the armpit (early breast cancer) or may have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body (secondary breast cancer)
- Paget’s disease of the nipple is a rare form of breast cancer that affects the nipple and the area around the nipple (the areola) and is commonly associated with an invasive cancer elsewhere in the breast
- Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of invasive breast cancer that affects the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast, causing the breast to become red and inflamed
What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?
The symptoms of breast cancer depend on where the tumour is in the breast, the size of the tumour and how quickly it is growing.
Breast changes that may indicate breast cancer include:
- a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
- a change in the size or shape of the breast
- a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
- a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
- a change in the skin of the breast such as redness or dimpling
- an unusual pain that doesn’t go away
There are a number of conditions that may cause these symptoms, not just breast cancer. If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is important that they are discussed with a doctor.
What are the risks factors for Breast Cancer?
A risk factor is any factor that is associated with an increased chance of developing a particular health condition, such as breast cancer. There are different types of risk factors, some of which can be modified and some which cannot. It should be noted that having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will develop breast cancer. Many people have at least one risk factor but will never develop breast cancer, while others with breast cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with breast cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease.
While Cancer Australia develops material based on the best available evidence, this information is not intended to be used as a substitute for an independent health professional’s advice. While the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, there are a number of factors associated with the risk of developing the disease.
Some of the risk factors for breast cancer include:
- being a woman
- increasing age
- having a strong family history of breast cancer
- having a breast condition such as a personal history of breast cancer, DCIS or LCIS
- a number of hormonal factors, child-bearing history, personal and lifestyle factors
How is Breast Cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis of breast cancer involves the triple test.
- a clinical breast examination
- imaging tests – which may include a mammogram or ultrasound taking
- a sample of tissue (biopsy) from the breast for examination under a microscope
- Other tests, such as blood tests or bone scans, may be done if symptoms suggest that breast cancer has spread outside the breast. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be suggested to assess extent of disease in some cases.
Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals – called a multidisciplinary team.
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the stage and type of the disease, the severity of symptoms and the person’s general health. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove part or all of the affected breast, and removal of one or more lymph nodes from the armpit. Breast reconstruction may be available for women who have the whole breast removed (mastectomy). Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapies, and/or targeted therapies, may also be used.
Research is ongoing to find new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer. Some people may be offered the option of participation in a clinical trial to test new ways of treating breast cancer.
Help us support National Breast Cancer Foundation
Cairns Doctors on Barr St have registered to host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast as part of our fundraising efforts this month.
Donations can be made by clicking here.
The morning tea is Top Secret for the moment, but put the 26th of October in your calendar to come on down, join us in feasting on delicious coffee and food, listen to Dave and Maddi from Star 102.7 as they give live updates as our Managers hair is first bleached, and then dyed pink!
Please help us in raising these funds, as we’d like to see Adam with Pink hair, but more importantly, we would like to raise at least $5,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help them reach their goal of ZERO deaths from Breast Cancer by 2030!
For more information:
If you or a loved one has any concerns about Breast Cancer, or your health in general please call our reception team on 07 4242 5300 and they can help you book an appointment that suits you. For a booking for a breast check, please check online for an appointment clicking on “Breast Check” when prompted for appointment type.