Becoming Whole: The Story Of My Complete Recovery From Breast Cancer

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I'm an oncologist who got breast cancer. This is what I learned

Finding a breast lump can be frightening, but a lump is not always a sign of breast cancer. There are various reasons why a lump can develop, and most are not cancerous. According to the support organization Breastcancer. Nevertheless, people should seek medical help if a new lump appears or if an existing lump changes. Often, the lump does not need treatment but, sometimes, if a person needs treatment, doctors may recommend surgery.

This kind of breast surgery is known as a lumpectomy. In this article, we look at the reasons for the surgery and what people can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Sometimes, a surgeon will carry out a biopsy to test a sample of tissue. At the same time, they might remove a small lump that looks suspicious.

Common late effects of treatment

If tests confirm the presence of breast cancer , a surgeon will often remove the tumor by way of a lumpectomy. A person who has breast cancer may need chemotherapy , radiation, or medication after undergoing the lumpectomy. This is to treat the cancer and prevent it from returning. The outlook after surgery depends on several factors, including the type of lump that the surgeon finds and the stage of the cancer if a lump is malignant.

They include :. Cysts : These harmless growths in the breast tissue tend to occur with hormonal changes, such as the start of a menstrual period. A surgeon may use a needle to drain the fluid that usually fills a cyst. But after draining, cysts can reoccur. Fibroadenoma and fibrocystic breasts : There conditions involve hardening and thickening of the tissue within the breast.

The tissue is usually harmless. Intraductal papillomas : This is when hard, rubbery, lumps form in the milk ducts.

Mastectomy (Breast Removal Surgery): Types, What to Expect, Recovery

These are also usually harmless. Benign tumors : These solid growths are not cancerous or dangerous. They can be uncomfortable, and they can sometimes cause leakage from the nipples, depending on their location. Doing a biopsy and examining the cells from the tumor under a microscope is the only way to determine if it is cancerous or benign.


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Hormonal changes : The breasts change over time and during the menstrual cycle. Lumps may come and go regularly. Checking the breasts at the same time each month can help a person keep track of any change that is unusual.

Fatty lumps that develop after a trauma, and the use of some medications, are other causes of breast lumps. It is vital for a person to see a doctor to find out which type of lump they have in their breast. They can then begin treatment early, if necessary. A doctor may recommend imaging tests, including mammogram, MRI , or ultrasound. These tests can reveal details of the lump and surrounding tissue.


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Someone who has a low risk for breast cancer may only need to monitor the lump and return periodically to check on it. However, a doctor may recommend either a biopsy or more extensive surgery if there is any chance that the lump may be malignant or if it causes pain. A biopsy involves removing a small amount of the lump to look for its cause. Doing a biopsy is the only way to diagnose breast cancer or other conditions definitively.

The American Cancer Society describe the following types of biopsy:. Fine needle aspiration biopsy : The doctor inserts a small needle into the lump and removes a few cells for testing. Core needle biopsy : The doctor uses a slightly larger needle to remove three to six small cylinders of tissue from the breast.

How fast can breast cancer spread?

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Breast Reconstruction

To read stories from some of our Discussion Board Community members about their reconstruction decisions, visit our Member Stories: Members Sharing Their Reconstruction Decisions pages. Sullivan, M.

The NHS saved my little sister – so I decided to become a doctor

The effects of breast reconstruction have the capacity to transcend the surgical techniques, providing the final link in the circle of treatment, a return to wholeness, and an overall sense of recovery. DellaCroce, M.


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