Julia Bradbury reflects on her breast cancer diagnosis
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Two “distinct” abnormalities you should take note of, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, are “a change in how the breast or nipple looks or feels”. Any tenderness near the breast, underarm area, or nipple warrants a specialist check-up. If the texture of the skin has changed to somewhat of an “orange peel”, then get it looked at by your doctor.
While not all lumps in the breast are cancerous, any persistent lump should be brought to the attention of your medical health centre.
As for the way the breasts look, any unexplained changes in the size or shape of the breast – that is not due to the menstrual cycle, weight gain or loss – should be investigated.
Irregular changes include dimpling of the skin, one swollen breast, recent asymmetry, or a nipple that has suddenly turned inwards.
“Any breast cancer symptom you notice should be investigated as soon as it is discovered,” the organisation advised.
Inflammatory breast cancer
Regarded as a “rare” type of tumour by Cancer Research UK, this is when cancer cells block the smallest lymph channels in the breast.
Cancer Research UK elaborated: “The lymph channels (or lymph ducts) are part of the lymphatic system.
“They normally drain excess tissue fluid away from the body tissues and organs.”
The lymph channels are unable to do this if they are blocked, which can lead to the skin becoming red and inflamed.
Due to the blocked lymph channels, the breast could become:
- Firm or hard
- Hot to the touch.
“The breast can also be painful in inflammatory breast cancer,” the charity added.
Other possible signs might include:
- Ridges or thickening of the skin of the breast
- Pitted skin, like orange peel
- A lump in the breast
- A discharge from the nipple
- An inverted nipple – the nipple is pulled into the breast.
How rare is it?
Out of 100 breast cancer cases, up to five of them are categorised as inflammatory breast cancers.
The charity cautioned that inflammatory breast cancer symptoms can appear “quite suddenly”.
“Inflammatory breast cancer can develop quickly and may spread to other parts of the body,” Cancer Research UK warned.
Treatment typically involves chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy; regular check-ups, for up to five years, may follow.
All treatments may lead to side effects, which can be unique to each person.
Common side effects of chemotherapy include: feeling sick, losing weight, and hair loss.
Breast radiotherapy, for instance, can lead to: tiredness, issues with moving your arm or shoulder, and tender skin.
Each treatment plan will be dependent on the patient and the expertise of the cancer care medical team.
Survival for inflammatory breast cancer
Survival from inflammatory breast cancer depends on many factors, including:
- The exact position of the cancer
- How big the cancer is and whether it has spread only to the lymph nodes or to other organs
- How abnormal the cancer cells look under the microscope (the grade)
- Your age
- Your general health
- Whether the cancer cells have receptors for hormone therapies
- How well the cancer responds to treatment.
Source: Read Full Article