Diagnosing Breast Cancer
Usually at the beginning of the disease you may not notice any symptoms. But as the cancer develops you may notice the following signs:
1) First of there appears breast lump. It could also be lump in the armpit and usually it's hard, uneven, and doesn't hurt.
2) You may notice the alteration of your breast or nipple. The difference may be seen in the size of the breast or nipple; its shape also may change. For instance, there could be seen some redness or anything like that.
3) There could appear a strange fluid from the nipple. It may be
bloody, or green, resembling pus.
Though in the majority of cases breast cancer is typical of women, there is also the possibility that men could get the disease. Then the most usual symptoms are breast lump, pain in the breast, tenderness.
The symptoms above are inherent of breast cancer at its early stage.
Advanced breast cancer has the following symptoms:
1) You may feel pain in bones;
2) Pain in the breast;
3) There can appear ulcers on the skin;
4) It's also possible that the arm next to cancerous breast coul swell;
5) You may notice a weight loss.
If you've noticed any of the signs above you should immediately consult your doctor who may ask you to have some additional tests made, among which are:
1) Mammography. With the help of mammography your doctor may identify the existence of breast lump;
2) The other test , which is also rather helpful in identifying breast lump, is Breast MRI;
3) The results of breast ultrasound show what kind of lump there is (solid or fluid-filled);
4) Sometimes doctors ask to make breast biopsy, i.e. needle aspiration. While breast biopsy the part of the lump is taken and examined closely by a specialist;
5) CT scan, i.e. a computed tomography scan, shows cross-sectional pictures of the breast.
6) While sentinal biopsy of a lymph node the whole node or its piece is taken for closer examination.
7) While PET scan, i.e. a positron emission tomography scan, a radioactive substance (tracer) is used to identify whether there's the disease.
If your doctor finds out that you have cancer, staging is the next step. Staging means that you would have to have the other tests done in order to identify whether the cancer has spread. With the help of staging some concrete treatment measures could be taken. Besides, staging would give you a possibility to known what you could expect in future.
Stages of breast cancer range from 0 to IV. If the cancer has not yet spread it has the name “ductal carcinoma in situ” (DCIS). If the cancer spreads, it has the name “invasive breast cancer”.
It is very important for you to check your breasts permanently. If the cancer is found at its early stage, it's easy to treat the disease. Don't forget to make breast self-exams (BSE). If you've noticed anything, consult immediately a doctor – it may help you to prevent the development of the disease.