Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Overview

Breast cancer occurs when rapidly growing cells gather and form a mass (tumor). These cancerous cells can spread into surrounding breast tissue and other areas of the body. While breast cancer mostly occurs in women, men also get it. 

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming. It might help to know that the survivor rate has significantly improved for breast cancer. 

We have better screening and treatment options. When caught early, treatment is usually more effective and less complicated. 

Treatment depends on the location, type of tumor, and how far the cancer has spread. It may include surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, and other methods. 

Understanding breast cancer and what to expect can help you make informed decisions about your care.

Additional References:

Risk Factors

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. Risk factors include:

  • Personal history of breast cancer.
  • Mother, daughter, or sister with breast cancer.
  • You or your sister or mother (first-degree relative) tests positive for a breast cancer gene.
  • Aunt, niece, grandmother, granddaughter with breast cancer before age 50.
  • First- or second-degree relative with ovarian cancer.
  • Radiation to the chest.

Other risk factors in women include:

  • Age 55 and older.
  • Dense breast tissue, which also makes it harder to evaluate mammogram results.
  • Alcohol use of more than 1 drink per day.
  • Obesity after menopause.
  • Early menarche, or starting your menstrual cycle before age 12.
  • Late menopause, or going through menopause after age 55.
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT), especially taking a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
  • Never being pregnant or giving birth after age 30.
Breast cancer in men

While breast cancer in men is rare, risk factors include:

  • Age 60 or older.
  • Family history.
  • A rare genetic disorder that causes overproduction of estrogen (Klinefelter's syndrome).
  • Radiation to the chest.

Symptoms

Often, breast cancer may not cause symptoms. If symptoms are present, they can include:

  • A painless lump in the breast.
  • Change in the shape, size, or appearance of the breast.
  • Change in skin texture or a dimpled appearance of the breast.
  • Discharge from the nipple or a retracted nipple.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away. 

Symptoms of breast cancer in men include: 

  • Lumps or thickening of the breast tissue.
  • Nipple retraction.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Skin changes, such as swelling, skin redness, and scales. 

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Screening

Early diagnosis is one of the most important tools to fight this disease. Screening methods include:  

  • Mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI, especially if you’re at high risk
  • Clinical breast exam, to look for changes or abnormalities

If you have a family history of breast cancer, our genetics experts can help you learn if you’re at high risk. 

If you have an average risk of breast cancer, we recommend screening at the following ages:

AgeScreening Schedule
75 and overTalk with your doctor about when to get screened.
50 to 74Routine screening every 1 to 2 years.
40 to 49Consider the risks and benefits of routine mammograms before deciding.
39 and youngerRoutine mammograms are not recommended.

If your risk is higher, talk with your doctor about a screening schedule. 

It’s especially important for women with dense breast tissue to have regular mammograms. We’ll let you know if you have dense breasts. We can talk about your screening options.

Diagnosis

If we suspect breast cancer, we may recommend the removal of a small sample of tissue (biopsy) to determine if cancer is present. The tissue is sent to the pathology laboratory for full testing. 

If you have dense breast tissue, you may need additional tests or a biopsy so we can better evaluate the suspicious tissue. 

During a biopsy, we may use ultrasound to locate and remove the tissue sample.

Additional References:

Staging

Breast cancer is given a grade (stage) based on the size of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread. Staging the cancer helps us determine the best treatment plan.

Breast cancer may be in the:

  • Breast duct or lobule (noninvasive).
  • Other areas within the breast (invasive).
  • Lymph nodes.
  • Other areas of the body (metastasized). 

The stages of breast cancer are: 

  • Stage 0. The cancer is in a milk duct and has not spread. 
  • Stage I. The tumor is up to 2 centimeters (cm). It hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other locations.
  • Stage II. The tumor is 2 to 5 cm or has spread to a nearby lymph node.
  • Stage III. The tumor is 5 cm or larger. Or it’s spread into lymph nodes or into the chest wall or skin.
  • Stage IV. The cancer has spread into organs or bones. This is a late-stage cancer.

Treatment

We’ll talk about the best treatment plan that’s right for you. Treatment depends on the location and severity of the breast cancer. Treatment options usually include: 

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Biologic therapy
  • Targeted therapy

We may recommend one or more of these treatments. 

Additional References:

Follow-up Care

Good self-care is critical during and after you complete all treatment.

During treatment, improve your overall health and well-being. 

  • Eat a nutritious diet.
  • Stay as active as possible.
  • Keep your follow-up appointments.
  • Join a support group to talk with others who’ve had similar experiences.
  • Ask your doctor questions, and report active symptoms.

In addition, follow all instructions exactly as given for: 

  • Preparing and getting blood tests.
  • Obtaining imaging tests, if ordered.
  • Using medications. Take the amount prescribed for the length of time as directed.

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