How Much Sunshine Is Healthy For You?

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We’ve all heard sunshine is good for your health.

How Much Sunshine Is Healthy?

Turns out, it’s 15 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen 3 times a week.

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How Much Sunshine Is Not Healthy?

More than 15 minutes of sun without sunscreen and you’ll end up with premature aging.

Dr. Melissa Piliang (pronounced Pill-ee-ang) of Cleveland Clinic says areas that should be covered at ALL times include:

FACE

CHEST
 
BACK
 
HANDS
 
SHE REMINDS US YOU CAN STILL DEVELOP SKIN CANCER ON TINY EXPOSED AREAS.
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CG: Dr. Melissa Piliang /Cleveland Clinic
Face, chest, back of hands are places too – that you can get a lot of sun just running and out of stores, to and from your car, to your mailbox; those kinds of situations.” [:10] 
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What Does 15 Minutes of Healthy Sunlight Do?

It activates Vitamin D in your body. After activation, it functions as a hormone. The active form of Vitamin D is called D3 or cholecalciferol.

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Vitamin D is vital for mental health, age-related cognitive decline, mood, cardiovascular health and strong bones.  D3 supports calcium absorption and your immune system.

You get vitamin D3 from foods such as mushrooms, orange juice fortified with calcium/D,  milk, fortified soy products, fish or supplements.

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What If You Can’t Avoid Sun More Than 15 Min.?

If you need to be exposed to the sun more than 15 minutes Dr. Piliang says to use sunscreen liberally.  Everyone should make sun protection a part of their everyday routine, even while running errands –not just when you go to the beach or pool.

 

SHE SAYS THE BEST PROTECTION ARE SPRAY-ON SUNSCREENS OR A VARIETY OF LOTIONS AND MAKEUPS THAT CONTAIN S-P-F TO PROTECT SKIN.
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DR. PILIANG SAYS KEEP LOTION HANDY SO YOU DON’T FORGET.
CG:  Dr. Melissa Piliang /Cleveland Clinic
“For people who are worried about sun exposure on their head, a hat is helpful. And actually a hat is very helpful for everyone because it protects the face, the head, and the top of the ears.” [:15]
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ACCORDING TO THE U-S CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,
SKIN CANCER IS THE MOST COMMON FORM OF CANCER IN THE UNITED STATES AND MEN, ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH LIGHTER SKIN. [:11]
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If you see new moles or ones that change shape make sure to get them checked.

Again, people with exposed scalps should always use sunscreen there or wear a hat.

See a dermatologist if you have any concerns.

You can now safely say, “Good Morning, Sunshine!” 15 min. 3x’s a week.

THEN, IT’S “HELLO SUNSCREEN!”   😀

YOU CAN PREVENT SKIN CANCER BY TAKING THESE PRECAUTIONS.

 

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MORE INFORMATION:  
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MEDIA:  See Cleveland Clinic News Service (CCNS), July 26, 2017 Pathfire #10839 for Sound Bites/VO/B-Roll
Don’t forget to protect your EYES too!
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Most of us think to pack the sunscreen when heading outdoors into the sun, but we might not always remember to grab a pair of shades.

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According to Reecha Kampani, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic, putting on sunglasses is more than a fashion statement.

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She says protecting eyes from ultraviolet rays is just as important as using sunscreen to protect the skin.

“”UV protection is good for all kinds of structures of the eye, like the eyelids, the cornea, conjunctiva, the lenses and retina tissue itself,”” says Dr. Kampani. “”You can get damage and changes of the eye with exposure to UV light, so protection is very important.””

Dr. Kampani says it is actually possible to get a sunburn on the eyelids and while rare, if exposed to too much UV light, the cornea, which is the clear tissue over the eye, can get a thermal burn, which can be very painful.

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“Long-term exposure to UV light can lead to the formation of cataracts or macular degeneration.”

Dr. Kampani recommends wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat even on moderately sunny or overcast days, to make sure eyes are protected.

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Wrap-around sunglasses are best if heading out in the sun all day, as they can keep light from coming in through the top and the sides of the glasses.

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The good news is that people don’t have to spend a fortune to keep their eyes protected.

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Dr. Kampani says buying discounted sunglasses is fine, but it’s a good idea to replace inexpensive glasses yearly.

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“”If you’’re buying lenses that are at more discounted places, that’s fine,” said Dr. Kampani. “A lot of times they still do have full protection, but you have to keep in mind that it could be something that’s more temporary, like a spray-on coating, that won’t last as long.””

Dr. Kampani says it’’s also a good idea to keep in mind that artificial UV light, like the kind that is found in tanning beds, is just as bad for the eyes as it is for the skin.

Remember, when you’re outdoors or out in the field as we say in TV wear sunglasses OR a hat to protect your peeps!

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Stay healthy!

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 maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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Johns Hopkins Makes Cancer Discovery

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins discover the biochemical mechanism that tells cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body.

A process known as metastasiS.

That word scares the bejeebers out of patients diagnosed with cancer.  90% of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes.

Anything that helps prevent that from happening is a tremendous breakthrough in medicine.

                      [Photo Credit:  Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun]

Hasini Jayatilaka, left, a post-doctoral fellow and Denis Wirtz, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, who work together at the Institute of NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University, discuss their discovery.

 

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BALTIMOREHasini Jayatilaka was a sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University working in a lab studying cancer cells when she noticed that when the cells become too densely packed, some would break off and start spreading.

She wasn’t sure what to make of it, until she attended an academic conference and heard a speaker talking about bacterial cells behaving the same way. Yet when she went through the academic literature to see if anyone had written about similar behavior in cancer cells, she found nothing.

Seven years later, the theory Jayatilaka developed early in college is now a bona fide discovery that offers significant promise for cancer treatment.

Jayatilaka and a team at Johns Hopkins discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body, a process called metastasis. Some 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes.

The team also found that two existing, FDA-approved drugs can slow metastasis significantly.

“A female patient with breast cancer doesn’t succumb to the disease just because she has a mass on her breast; she succumbs to the disease because (when) it spreads either to the lungs, the liver, the brain, it becomes untreatable,” said Jayatilaka, who earned her doctorate in chemical and biomolecular engineering this spring in addition to her earlier undergraduate degree at Hopkins.

“There are really no therapeutics out there right now that directly target the spread of cancer. So what we came up with through our studies was this drug cocktail that could potentially inhibit the spread of cancer.”

The study was published online May 26 in the journal Nature Communications. The next step for the team is to test the effectiveness of the drugs in human subjects.

Typically, cancer research and treatment has focused on shrinking the primary tumor through chemotherapy or other methods. But, the team said, by attacking the deadly process of metastasis, more patients could survive.

“It’s not this primary tumor that’s going to kill you typically,” said Denis Wirtz, Johns Hopkins’ vice provost for research and director of its Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, who was a senior author on the paper.

Jayatilaka began by studying how cancer cells behave and communicate with each other, using a three-dimensional model that mimics human tissue rather than looking at them in a petri dish.

Many researchers believe metastasis happens after the primary tumor reaches a certain size, but Jayatilaka found it was the tumor’s density that determined when it would metastasize.

“If you look at the human population, once we become too dense in an area, we move out to the suburbs or wherever, and we decide to set up shop there,” Jayatilaka said. “I think the cancer cells are doing the same thing.”

When the tumor reaches a certain density, the study found, it releases two proteins called Interleukin 6 and Interleukin 8, signaling to cancer cells that things had grown too crowded and it was time to break off and head into other parts of the body.

Previously, Wirtz said, the act of a tumor growing and the act of cancer cells spreading were thought to be very separate activities, because that’s how it appeared by studying cancer cells in a petri dish, rather than the 3-D model the Hopkins team used.

Many researchers study only cancer cell growth or its spread, and don’t communicate with each other often, he said.

Once the cancer cells start to sense the presence of too many other cancer cells around them, they start secreting the Interleukin proteins, Wirtz said. If those proteins are added to a tumor that hasn’t yet metastasized, that process would begin, he said.

The team then tested two drugs known to work on the Interleukin receptors to see if they would block or slow metastasis in mice.

They found that using the two drugs together would block the signals from the Interleukin proteins that told the cancer cells to break off and spread, slowing – though not completely stopping – metastasis.

The drugs the team used were Tocilizumab, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and Reparixin, which is being evaluated for cancer treatment.

The drugs bind to the Interleukin receptors and block their signals, slowing metastasis.

Though metastasis was not completely stopped, Jayatilaka said, the mice given the drug cocktail fared well and survived through the experiment.

She said adding another, yet-to-be-determined drug or tweaking the dose might stop metastasis entirely.

Contrary to the hair loss, nausea and other negative side effects patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer, Wirtz said the side effects from the drugs used in the study would be minimal.

Anirban Maitra, co-director of a pancreatic cancer research center at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, cautioned that clinical trials in humans are needed to prove the theory.

“There’s a risk that something that looks so great in an animal model won’t pan out in a human,” he said.

But Maitra said the study looked promising, in particular because the researchers had used drugs already on the market. It can take a decade to identify a drug that would perform similarly and get it approved, and many similar observations don’t advance because of the time and expense it can take to get drug approval, he said.

Muhammad Zaman, a professor and cancer expert at Boston University, called the Hopkins discovery “exciting.”

“This paper gives you a very specific target to design drugs against,” he said. “That’s really quite spectacular from the point of view of drug design and creating therapies.”

Zaman said it was important for cancer researchers to use engineering to better understand cancer, as the Hopkins team did.

“This really brings cancer and engineering together in a very unique way, and it really takes an approach that is quantitative and rigorous,” he said. “We have to think of cancer as a complex system, not just a disease.”

Wirtz predicted a future where cancer would be fought with a mix of chemotherapy to shrink the primary tumor and drug cocktails like the one the Hopkins team developed to ensure it would not metastasize. He compared such a treatment to how HIV/AIDS is treated today.

“We’re not going to cure cancer with one therapy or even two therapies; it’s going to be drug cocktails,” Wirtz said. “That’s what saved the day with HIV/AIDS.”

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, also could play a role in a combined method, Wirtz added.

“We’re, in research, sometimes incentivized to look at one pathway at a time, one type of cancer at a time,” Wirtz said. “I think oncology has started realizing we’re going to need more than one approach.”

MORE INFORMATION:

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/jun/20/researchers-say-theyve-unlocked-key-to-cancer-meta/

VIDEO LINK:  

http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/93637026-132.html

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications and Healthy Within Network. This is her blog.  Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com


Future Health: New Device To Detect Early-Stage Colon Cancer

DANIELA SEMEDO reports on a European project, which aims to develop an innovative endoscope device that can detect and diagnose colorectal cancer in its early stages.

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Called PICCOLO, the project is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. It’s tackling one of the world’s predominant cancers by using new optical technologies that identify precancerous polyps and early colon cancers.

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Colorectal cancer represents around one-tenth of all cancers worldwide, and nearly 95 percent of these cases are adenocarcinomas, which typically start as a tissue growth called a polyp.

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Early and accurate diagnosis and precise intervention can increase cure rates to up to 90 percent.

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A colonoscopy is currently the method used to screen for colon cancer. But while up to 40 percent of patients who undergo colonoscopy present one or more polyps, almost 30 percent of these polyps are not detected.

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Of the polyps detected by colonoscopy, 29 to 42 percent are generally hyperplastic and will not develop into cancer. The remainder are neoplastic polyps, representing colorectal cancer in its earliest stages.

There is an urgent need for new diagnostic techniques that are equipped with enough sensitivity and specificity to allow in situ assessment, safe characterization, and resection of lesions during clinical practice interventions.

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The multidisciplinary PICCOLO team proposes a new compact, hybrid, and multimodal photonics endoscope based on Optical C, a medical imaging technique that uses light to capture micrometer-resolution, three-dimensional images from within optical scattering media.

Artzai Picon of Tecnalia Research & Innovation says, “We hope that PICCOLO will provide major benefits over traditional colonoscopy. Firstly, by developing an advanced endoscope, using both optical coherence tomography (OCT) and multi-photon tomography (MPT), we will provide high-resolution structural and functional imaging, giving details of the changes occurring at the cellular level comparable to those obtained using traditional histological techniques.”

“Furthermore, when multiple polyps are detected in a patient, the current gold standard procedure is to remove all of them, followed by microscopic tissue analysis,” he said. “Removal of hyperplastic polyps, which carry no malignant potential, and the subsequent costly histopathological analysis, might be avoided through the use of the PICCOLO endoscope probe, which could allow image-based diagnosis without the need for tissue biopsies.”

Researchers behind the project believe the new device may not only add to colon cancer detection, but could also be applied to diseases in other organs of the body.

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Investigators expect their first prototype to be fully developed by the end of 2018 and plan to start testing the device in clinical studies in 2020.

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DANIELA SEMEDO, Colon Cancer News
https://coloncancernewstoday.com/2017/06/08/bristol-myers-squibb-novartis-to-test-mekinist-opdivo-combination-in-advanced-colorectal-cancer/

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http://www.fightcolorectalcancer.org

 

Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD: What’s Hot in Health, a division of Healthy Within Network.  Have a story to share with healthcare consumers and media?

Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

 

Humor Helps Cancer Patients Heal

LexiTimmons

When 28-year-old Oncology Nurse, Lexi Timmons works with cancer patients, which she’s done for two years, she notices what helps most is humor to brighten their spirits.

She also observes they receive a lot of greeting cards from well-meaning loved ones, but most are downright depressing instead of what they need most during this time, which is cheer.  She realizes it’s not their fault  because the majority of Greeting cards for illness in major retailers are typically glum offering sympathy, along with a Get Well Soon salutation.  She could see her patients get sad as they open and read them.

That’s how Lexi got the idea to create a line of Greeting cards that make cancer patients smile, laugh and feel good.  She calls them LUMPY CARDS.   Everyone knows stress has a negative impact on your mind and body. When people have cancer, they need their immune systems to stay strong and humor helps diffuse stress.  When someone is laughing they’re not thinking of being sick, even if it’s only for a little while.  It’s a step in the right direction.  Laughter is always positive, which is why we love Lexi’s idea and spirit. Sometimes, her patients inspire the cards.

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Lexi says, “I love to crack jokes and so do my patients. I realized that when people are going through the roughest of times, it actually brings out the best comedian in them.  It helps them cope and it also releases feel good endorphins in them, which are healing.”

Another inspiration was unexpected.  In 2012, cancer hit home when her Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Lexi Timmons with a cancer patient she didn’t expect – her own Mom

“My Mom is at her best when she is laughing and not thinking about her cancer. I knew this would help her too.”

LUMPY CARDS sure did make her Mom smile.

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Now, Lexi’s Mom inspires some of the Greeting cards. Together, they share great laughs and beautiful smiles.

Laughter really is the best medicine

 Her Mom Sherry says, “I just love Lexi’s cards! She has a knack for finding just the right line to make people feel better. When I was going through cancer treatment, and I would read one of her cards, they would make me laugh or feel loved. Her cards captured what I needed to hear at each stage of my treatment, and were neither too sympathetic or mushy. So many of the cards out there make you feel like your life is over now that you have cancer or you’re dying.”

Lexi writes the humorous cards herself, but would love to partner with some professional comedians, who would like to volunteer for a good cause and get credit on them.

There are a range of cards uniquely tailored for men, women, friends, family and spouses dealing with cancer and they’re reasonably priced at $3.99 a card.

Healthy Within Network and NewsMD give these cards two healthy thumbs up. 

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And so does the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, who has this to say:

“Now THIS is interesting!  A company that makes unique and provocative greeting cards for cancer patients. Lumpy Cards certainly doesn’t tiptoe around the topic of cancer.  The animal selection is particularly cute.”

 

 Way to go, Lexi.  An absolutely beautiful person inside and out, like her Mom.

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Lexi with her biggest fan, Mom

 

 

Here’s a link to Lexi on-camera talking about her inspiration for Lumpy Cards:

 

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  You can contact Lexi for an interview (Contact Us page on link) or order cards here:  http://www.lumpycards.com

Maria Dorfner is an  award-winning health journalist, and the the founding CEO of Healthy Within Network and NewsMD Communications.  This is her blog. She has been working in Media since 1983 and began specializing in Health in 1993, creating and sharing original and trusted health content for healthcare consumers. Her award-winning health series and segments have been seen on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, DISCOVERY HEALTH and more.

“Today, the floodgates are open to anyone reporting on health. Consumers are now well aware that physicians may have ties to pharmaceutical companies, health devices or hospitals, so they question everything. They are also now aware that food and beverage companies promoting products may not have their best interests in mind. When your Mom, Dad, sister, brother or loved one has a health issue, you want to know you’re getting trusted unbiased information. We maintain the experts need to be questioned to ensure not only transparency, but that profits aren’t placed before people.  Additionally, we focus on prevention and maintaining good health.  Virgil said it best when he said, “Health is your greatest wealth. Invest wisely.” ~Maria Dorfner

7 Early Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

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by Melanie Haiken

The earliest and most surprising signs of breast cancer, as described by the women who know: breast cancer survivors themselves.

Breast cancer warning sign #1: Pain in the breast or chest

Whether it’s an ache, throb, twinge, or sharp stab, pain or discomfort in the breast or chest area isn’t a good sign.

How it feels: One breast cancer survivor describes the pain she brought to her doctor’s attention as a “sharp pain that comes and goes.” Another describes it as “a mild electric sensation that went from my left breast to my right nipple.”

What causes it: Breast tumors can take many different forms; there can be a single lump, but there can also be an area of scattered seed-like tumors or an amorphous shape with multiple tentacles extending into the tissue. The tumor might also be directly behind the nipple or in one of the milk ducts. All of these growths cause different types of pain and discomfort.

Scary stat: As many as 30 percent of all breast cancer tumors aren’t lumps, which makes them harder to detect.

What to do: Keep track of when, where, and how often the pain occurs. Tell your doctor, being as specific as possible. Make sure to be clear that this is a new symptom, different from any other sensation (such as the sore breasts of PMS) you’ve experienced before. If your doctor diagnoses mastitis and prescribes antibiotics (a typical response to breast pain), take the full cycle. But if the pain hasn’t gone away, inform your doctor and ask for additional tests. Many women are told repeatedly that they have mastitis before they’re able to make clear to the doctor that this isn’t the case.

Breast cancer warning sign #2: Itchy breasts

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This symptom, primarily associated with inflammatory breast cancer, is often missed. You’d be surprised how many women with inflammatory breast cancer spend months visiting the dermatologist, only to be sent home with creams and medications for a rash.

How it feels: Extremely itchy — the type of itch you might have with poison oak or ivy, which makes you feel like you absolutely have to scratch. Except scratching doesn’t help, and neither do the ointments that typically relieve itchiness. Your breast may also feel irritated, or the skin may be scaly or dimpled like cellulite.

What causes it: Fast-growing cancer cells block blood and lymph vessels that feed the skin. The normal flow of lymph through breast tissues is impeded, and fluid builds up in and under the skin.

Scary stat: The median age of diagnosis for inflammatory breast cancer is 57 (54 among African-American women), and it’s typically more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 34 percent.

What to do: If the skin of your breast looks odd or your breasts feel different, see your doctor right away. If the doctor suggests a skin ailment or an infection and sends you home with a prescription, return immediately if your symptoms don’t go away.

Breast cancer warning sign #3: Upper back, shoulder, and neck pain

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In some women, breast cancer is felt in the back or shoulders rather than in the chest or breasts. For this reason, spine specialists routinely look for the presence of tumors when treating chronic back pain that’s unrelieved by physical therapy.

How it feels: The pain, which is typically in the upper back or between the shoulder blades, is easily confused with sore muscles, a pulled tendon or ligament, or osteoarthritis of the spine. The difference is that it doesn’t go away with stretching muscles or changing position. Bone pain feels like a deep ache or throbbing.

What causes it: Most breast tumors develop in the glandular tissue of the breast, which extends deep into the chest, close to the chest wall. If tumor growth pushes backward toward the ribs and spine, the resulting pain may be felt in the back rather than in the breast. The first place breast cancer usually metastasizes, or spreads, is to the spine or ribs, becoming secondary bone cancer.

Scary stat: According to one study, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to the bone is only 8.3 percent, compared with an overall survival rate of 75 percent.

What to do: Pay close attention to how back pain feels. If it doesn’t go away with rest, stretching, or physical therapy, see your doctor. Keep the doctor informed if back pain continues despite treatment, and request a bone scan.

Breast cancer warning sign #4: Changes in breast shape, size, or appearance

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Contrary to popular belief, not all breast tumors cause a hard lump close enough to the surface to be noticeable. “Instead of feeling a lump, I noticed that one of my breasts was more oval than the other, hanging down lower and sort of sticking out to one side,” says a California woman who discovered she had breast cancer at the age of 42.

How it feels: Because this change is one of appearance more than feel, your partner may notice it before you do. Or you might become aware of it as you put on your bra or look at yourself in the mirror at the gym.

What causes it: Tissue growth that’s deeper in the breast or masked by dense breast tissue may push out the shape or size of the breast without causing a noticeable lump. If you’ve been told you have dense breast tissue, be particularly alert for this sign.

Scary stat: Mammograms miss up to 50 percent of tumors in women with dense breasts.

What to do: Study the size and shape of your breasts in a mirror. Sit facing the mirror and look at both breasts dead-on, then raise your arms, turn sideways, and look from each side. If there’s a difference in size or shape you haven’t noticed before, bring it to your doctor’s attention.

Breast cancer warning sign #5: A change in nipple appearance or sensitivity

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One of the most common locations for a breast tumor is just beneath the nipple, which can cause changes in the appearance and feel of the nipple itself. In particular, nipple changes are often the giveaway for men with breast cancer.

How it feels: You may notice that one of your nipples sticks up less than it used to, or it might have become inverted, flattened, or indented. Women with breast cancer often recall that they noticed a decrease in nipple sensitivity, which is most likely to come to your attention — or your partner’s attention — during sex. Another nipple change to take seriously is discharge when you’re not breastfeeding, whether it’s bloody, milky, or watery. The skin of the nipple may become crusty, scaly, or inflamed.

What causes it: Many breast cancers start in the milk ducts just under and around the nipple, affecting the nipple’s appearance or causing pain or discharge. There’s also a rare cancer, Paget’s disease of the breast, that specifically strikes the nipple. A tumor in the milk ducts, just behind or to one side of the nipple, pushes the skin up around the nipple or pushes the nipple aside. As tumors grow, they may attach to — and thus retract — the skin or the nipple itself. The tumor might also cause irritation and infection, leading to discharge.

Scary stat: The American Society of Breast Surgeons recently released research that male breast cancer is typically identified later and is deadlier than breast cancer in women.

What to do: Because some women have naturally inverted nipples or have discharge during and post-pregnancy, a doctor won’t necessarily notice this symptom. Since you’re the one who knows best what your nipples look like, pay close attention to any changes and discuss them with your doctor. Mastitis is a common conclusion for doctors presented with nipple changes, in which case you’ll be sent home with antibiotics. If they haven’t cleared up the symptoms within ten days, go back and request scans.

Breast cancer warning sign #6: Swelling or lump in your armpit

Armpit

You know how the lymph nodes in your neck and throat can feel sore when you have the flu? Any pain in the armpit is a sign to check the area carefully with your fingers. A lump under the armpit is likely to be hard and attached to surrounding tissues, so it doesn’t move when you touch it. Or tissue may feel thickened and dense compared with the armpit on the other side.

How it feels: Like a sore or tender spot under the arm. You may also feel a lump, though not necessarily. Affected lymph nodes may feel swollen or tender or develop a lump before a tumor is big enough to be felt in the breast itself. In some women, the swelling is more prominent under the arm or up under the collarbone.

What causes it: The lymph nodes in your armpit are where breast cancer spreads first, by way of lymphatic fluid that drains from the breast. Since the lymph nodes are the first place it’s likely to metastasize, breast cancer is staged according to whether it’s lymph-node positive or negative.

Scary stat: If breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate declines to 84 percent, as compared with 98 percent for node-negative breast cancer.

What to do: Colds, flu, and infection can also cause swollen lymph nodes, so if you’re sick or have an infection, wait for it to clear up before you worry. But if a lump or tender spot in the underarm area persists for a week with no apparent cause, see your doctor.

Breast cancer warning sign #7: Red, swollen breasts

Red-Swollen-Breast

When your breasts hurt, it’s easy to conclude that it’s the typical soreness of PMS. And if your breasts feel hot or look reddened, you might suspect an infection such as mastitis. But these are also signs of inflammatory breast cancer.

How it feels: It’s as if your breasts have a fever. They may feel swollen and sore, or the skin and underlying tissue may feel hot or look red or even purple.

What causes it: Inflammatory breast cancer is the most likely cause of this symptom. But breast tumors can also push on tissues, causing breasts to feel swollen and sore. In this case, you may also see, upon checking, that your breast is distended.

Scary stat: Once breast cancer has spread beyond the breast (stage IV), the average survival is less than four years. So it’s extremely important to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

What to do: Call your doctor right away about any symptom that could be inflammatory breast cancer. If the pain is diagnosed as mastitis and you’re prescribed antibiotics, you should feel better within a week to ten days. If you don’t, call your doctor and be assertive about additional tests.

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Caring.com User - Melanie Haiken

About the Author:  Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, is responsible for Caring.com’s coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. She has written about health and family-related issues for magazines such as Health , Real Simple , Woman’s Day , Yoga Journal , and websites such as BabyCenter.com, WebMD, and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield websites (aHealthyMe.com, aHealthyAdvantage.com) managed by Consumer Health Interactive. Melanie has held positions as Executive Editor at the Industry Standard and BabyCenter.com , and Managing Editor at San Francisco magazine. She has also worked for San Francisco’s renowned Center for Investigative Reporting. She has a master’s degree in Journalism and a B.A. in English, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Women: Cancer Symptoms You’re Most Likely to Ignore

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