Home News & Events News BLOG: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, here at Rutherford Cancer Centres, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check your breasts, know what symptoms to look out for, and understand how tumours are treated.

 

Breast cancer is the fourth most common cause of all cancer-related deaths in the UK and is the second most common for female cancers. Contrary to popular belief, males can also develop breast cancer, with 95 male deaths recorded in 2018. However, that number is small compared to the 11,500 females who lost their lives in the same year. Although breast cancer is far more common in women, men certainly should not ignore the signs.

Almost a quarter (23%) of breast cancer cases are preventable, as reported by Cancer Research UK, which gives all the more reason to regularly check for lumps and other symptoms.

What Breast Cancer Symptoms Should I Check For?

Lumps are the most common and well-known symptom that patients go to their doctor for, but they are not the be-all and end-all of breast cancer symptoms. As well as a new lump in the breast or armpit area, you should also keep an eye out for:

  • Thickening and/or swelling of breast tissue
  • Pain in any part of the breast
  • Irritation and/or dimpling of the breast skin
  • Discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)
  • Red and/or flaky skin in the nipple or breast area
  • A change in size or shape of the breast
  • Pulling in or pain in the nipple area

It's important to keep in mind that the presence of any symptom of breast cancer does not necessarily mean a tumour is present. These can occur with numerous other, non-cancerous conditions and may well be nothing to worry about – but it is always best to get checked. No doctor will accuse a patient of wasting time when they come to them with a potential sign of breast cancer that turns out to be nothing. A medical professional would much rather give the all-clear than a diagnosis, months after symptoms first occurred.

Breast Cancer Treatment

When a breast cancer diagnosis and the staging of cancer is confirmed, the aim is to discuss your cancer treatment options and make sure you fully understand how each treatment will work. Treatment options will largely depend on the size, exact location, and stage of the tumour – your oncology team will be best placed to inform and advise you on the next steps.

Stage 1 Breast Cancer Treatment

If your cancer has been diagnosed early at stage 1, this means treatment can be more effective and the chances of survival are greater. Around 98% of women diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer survive for more than five years after diagnosis. Treatment for early breast cancer will likely be combination therapy, likely to involve radiotherapychemotherapy, or surgery. As stage 1 cancer is the earliest stage, the tumour will be small and may not have metastasised to other areas of the body. Your oncologist will decide on the best course of treatment following scans which will pinpoint the precise location of the tumour. This will help the team to decide whether invasive or non-invasive breast cancer treatment options are recommended.

Stage 2 Breast Cancer Treatment

Stage 2 breast cancer is also classed as an early stage of breast cancer and means that the cancer is present in the breast and/or the nearby lymph nodes. Depending on the size of the tumour and to which lymph nodes it has spread, will determine the treatment needed but is likely to be more invasive than stage 1 treatment. Patients with stage 2 breast cancer are likely to undergo surgery to remove part or all of the breast, and if cancer is detected in the lymph nodes, a course of radiotherapy or proton beam therapy will be recommended. Despite the aesthetic changes that stage 2 breast cancer treatment may bring, survival rates remain high, with 90% of patients going on to live for five or more years after a diagnosis.

Stage 3 Breast Cancer Treatment

Stage 3 breast cancer, also referred to as locally advanced cancer, is a later stage cancer that is still treatable and curable. Survival rates drop down to 72% of patients living for five or more years after diagnosis. When breast cancer is diagnosed as stage 3, this means that cancer has spread to between four and nine lymph nodes and is likely to be at least 5cm in size (although this is not always the case).

As the cancer has spread, chemotherapy is a likely choice of treatment to destroy cancer cells before they metastasise further. Your oncology team will discuss the side effects of chemotherapy and how you may feel after each cycle of treatment, find out more about chemotherapy cycles on our chemotherapy treatment page. This drug-based therapy reduces the size of the tumour so that it is easier to remove during surgery, which will involve either a full or partial mastectomy. In some instances, patients may undergo surgery before having chemotherapy.

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Treatment

Stage 4 breast cancer, or metastatic cancer, is the most advanced stage and, as such, survival rates are low, with just 25% of patients living for longer than five years after diagnosis. This means that cancer has spread into other areas of the body, possibly the lungs, bones, or brain, which makes curing the cancer highly improbable. At this stage, treatment may be given to manage symptoms as opposed to eliminating the cancer itself.

Breast cancer treatment options at this stage can include chemotherapyimmunotherapy, radiotherapy, proton beam therapy, and surgery in an attempt to remove as much of the cancer as possible. In the case of metastatic cancer, shrinking or simply slowing the growth of the tumour is the best course of action, at which point the oncology team will consider your options fully. In some cases, treatment can keep stage 4 cancer under control for many years.

Source: Cancer Research UK

Get Checked during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes, but it could save your life. An early diagnosis can make all the difference, giving you the best chance of survival. If you have any symptoms of breast cancer or have noticed something that isn’t normal for you, please contact us today.

 


Find a breast specialist at Rutherford Cancer Centres

Our breast consultants at Rutherford Cancer Centres cover a range of treatment specialisms, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and proton beam therapy.

Prof Amit Bahl

Professor Amit Bahl is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Clinical Director based at The Bristol Haematology & Oncology Centre, with a special...

Read more
Prof Amit Bahl

Dr Diana Tait

Dr Tait is Consultant Clinical Oncologist based at the Rutherford Cancer Centre in Thames Valley, she has been at The...

Read more
Dr Diana Tait

Dr Helen Turnbull

Dr Helen Turnbull has been a Consultant in Clinical Oncology at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2011. Prior...

Read more
Dr Helen Turnbull

Mr Robert Thomas

Mr Robert Thomas graduated from Newcastle University in 2008 and completed his specialist training in the North East. Following his...

Read more
Mr Robert Thomas

Mr Andrew Pieri

Mr Andrew Pieri is a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Rutherford Cancer Centres North East.

Read more
Mr Andrew Pieri

Prof Roger Taylor

Professor Roger Taylor is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist specialising in the treatment of patients with brain tumours and lymphoma. Professor...

Read more
Prof Roger Taylor

Dr Mark Verrill

Dr Mark Verrill studied Medicine at the University of Cambridge and University College London, qualifying in 1989. He was awarded Membership...

Read more
Dr Mark Verrill

Mr Henry Cain

Mr Henry Cain qualified in 2001 from Leicester Medical School. Following being awarded MD in breast cancer signalling pathways and...

Read more
Mr Henry Cain

Miss Loraine Kalra

Loraine Kalra qualified from King Georges Medical College in 1987, after which she obtained her masters in general surgery and...

Read more
Miss Loraine Kalra

Dr Madhumita Bhattacharyya

Dr Madhumita Bhattacharyya graduated from St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1998, having also...

Read more
Dr Madhumita Bhattacharyya

Dr Muthiah Sivaramalingam

Dr Muthiah Sivaramalingam has been a consultant in Clinical Oncology since 2007 and has been Principal Investigator for many clinical...

Read more
Dr Muthiah Sivaramalingam

Dr Sanjay Raj

Dr Sanjay Raj’s special interest is the treatment of breast cancer with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biological and endocrine treatments. He...

Read more
Dr Sanjay Raj

Dr Kathryn L Wright

Dr Wright graduated in 1993 and completed medical registrar training in 1996. Thereafter she  embarked on  specialist training in Clinical...

Read more
Dr Kathryn L Wright

Prof Peter Barrett-Lee

Professor Peter Barrett-Lee is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Professor of Oncology in the School of Medicine at Cardiff University and...

Read more
Prof Peter Barrett-Lee

Mr M.V Chandrashekar

Biography Mr Chandrashekar is a senior specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and holds just under 20 years of experience in treating...

Read more
Mr M.V Chandrashekar

Dr Brinda Sethugavalar

Dr Brinda Sethugavalar studied primary medical education at the University of Dundee Medical School and obtained MBChB in 2004. She completed...

Read more
Dr Brinda Sethugavalar

Dr Sanjana Masinghe

Dr Sanana Masinghe has been a consultant clinical oncologist at James Cook University Hospital, South Tees NHS Trust since 2016 and also...

Read more
Dr Sanjana Masinghe

Mr Adam Critchley

Mr Adam Critchley is Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North East.

Read more
Mr Adam Critchley

Dr Sarah Harris

Dr Sarah Harris qualified from King's College Hospital in 1989. She worked as Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Guys and St...

Read more
Dr Sarah Harris

Dr Richard Brown

Dr Richard Brown graduated from the University of Auckland in 1988. He is also Consultant Clinical Oncologist at the Berkshire...

Read more
Dr Richard Brown

Dr Nick Plowman

Dr Nick Plowman is a Senior Consultant Clinical Oncologist based in the London region. He specialises in the treatment of...

Read more
Dr Nick Plowman

Other blog posts you might be interested in:

BLOG: The role of a Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist 

BLOG: The role of a Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist 

First UK breast cancer patient to be treated with proton therapy

First UK breast cancer patient to be treated with proton therapy

BLOG: One-stop breast clinics: what are they – and why would a patient attend?

BLOG: One-stop breast clinics: what are they – and why would a patient attend?

Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Our Trusted Healthcare Partners


This page was printed directly from www.therutherford.com/news/blog-october-is-breast-cancer-awareness-month on 30 Nov 2021, 06:29pm and is correct at the time of printing. Please note: this website is updated periodically and information may be amended or deleted if required. Please refer back to the website to ensure the information is correct at the time of enquiry.