A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease, such as cancer.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass or lump or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other possible symptoms of Breast Cancer include:
Screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease, like cancer, in people who do not have any symptoms. Screening exams can often find breast cancers when they are small and still confined to the breast.
The main types of treatment for Breast Cancer are:
It is important for you to have frank, open discussions with your cancer care team. Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how minor you might think they are. Some questions to consider:
When treatment ends, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It is very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctors will ask questions about any problems you may have and may do exams and lab tests or x-rays and scans to look for signs of cancer or treatment side effects.
At first, your follow-up appointments will probably be scheduled for every 3 to 6 months. The longer you have been free of cancer, the less often the appointments are needed. After 5 years, they are typically done about once a year. If you had breast-conserving surgery, you will get a mammogram about 6 months after surgery and radiation are completed, and then at least every year. Women who had a mastectomy should continue to have yearly mammograms on the remaining breast.
Lymphedema, or swelling of the arm from buildup of fluid, may occur any time after treatment for breast cancer. One of the first symptoms of lymphedema may be a feeling of tightness in the arm or hand on the same side that was treated for breast cancer. With care, lymphedema can often be avoided or, if it develops, kept under control. Injury or infection involving the affected arm or hand can contribute to the development of lymphedema or make existing lymphedema worse, so preventive measures should focus on protecting the arm and hand. Most doctors recommend that women avoid having blood drawn from or blood pressures took on the arm on the side of the lymph node surgery or radiation.