The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa


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The Breast Cancer Gene and Me

Gemignani says. Depending on the size of their breasts and how much tissue they have removed, some women can receive their final implants right away Plank was among them. Surgeons can place implants either over or under pectoral muscles.

BRCA Mutations: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing Fact Sheet - National Cancer Institute

Horton says. Hein had her initial mastectomy in October of and surgery to swap her expanders for implants the following January. In many ways, runners have pre-op advantages. Those natural endorphins may pay off: Wilterdink, for instance, was able to stop taking prescription painkillers within a few days after surgery. But even with superior fitness and implants placed over the muscle, surgeons are cutting away tissue, creating scarring, temporary pain, and fatigue as your body heals.

Bowling says. When Plank began running again, after eight weeks, breathing definitely proved difficult. In her first race back—the New York Road Runners Retro 5-miler last June—she felt intense pressure in her chest, as if her incisions might rip. She dropped out, and took an ambulance to the medical tent. Wilterdink struggled to find the right sports bra, too—at first, one with compression for her swelling and a front closure to accommodate her limited range of motion, then a high-support model in a smaller size.

While some of the physical effects of surgery diminish significantly in the first couple of months—Dr.

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Bowling tells patients they can expect to feel 85 percent better after six to eight weeks—others linger. Eight months later, Wilterdink still has sharp pains in her armpits and chest. Though disconcerting, these sensations are typical. Still, she encourages women who experience sensations that seem abnormal after surgery to consult their doctors.

New lumps, nipple discharge, or a hardness around the implant—potential signs of infection and scar tissue, or in rare cases, of cancer—might warrant a follow-up. Another long-term consequence: Since they lack blood flow, implants often stay only slightly warmer than room temperature, Dr.

Not all the impacts of surgery are purely physical.

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Having that taken away from me was the tipping point that forced me to really consider the mental impact. Even without the added insult of injury, women should expect emotional effects, Dr.

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The more children a woman has, the greater the protection against breast cancer. Not becoming pregnant at all called nulliparity increases the risk for breast cancer.


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Women who have received radiation therapy to the chest, neck and armpit area called the mantle radiation field have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This increased risk has been particularly noted in women who received treatment to these areas for Hodgkin lymphoma.

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The risk of developing breast cancer is higher if mantle radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma was given before the age of The risk is further increased if the radiation treatment was given during puberty. Breast cancer risk is greatly increased if chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma before the age of 15 years. But the benefit of treating the cancer usually far outweighs the risk of developing a second cancer from radiation therapy treatment.

In the past, medical radiation therapy was used to treat health problems such as tuberculosis, acne or an enlarged thymus gland. Women who were given medical radiation therapy to the chest area for these diseases have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Women exposed to ionizing radiation during atomic bomb blasts during the Second World War also have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they were exposed during puberty.

Many women fear that regular mammography will increase their risk for breast cancer. Modern mammography equipment uses very low doses of radiation compared to the dose used for treating cancer. The benefits of mammography outweigh the risks of exposure to radiation. Research shows that taking hormone replacement therapy HRT for a long time increases the risk of breast cancer. Researchers looked at the data from numerous studies. Their analysis showed that current or recent users of combined HRT for 5 years or longer have a higher risk for breast cancer.

The study also found that the risk was increased even with comparatively short-term use of combined HRT compared to a placebo. The higher risk appears to disappear a few years after stopping HRT. The WHI study also showed that there was a significant drop in the rate of new cases of breast cancer from to among Canadian women aged 50—69 years. This drop coincided with a drop in combined HRT use. This trend was also seen in a number of other countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway.

Researchers now believe that the risks of long-term use of combined HRT outweigh the benefits. Oral contraceptives that contain both estrogen and progesterone can slightly increase the risk for breast cancer, especially among women who have used oral contraceptives for 10 or more years.

The higher risk disappears after the woman stops taking oral contraceptives. However, current and recent less than 10 years since last use users have a slightly greater risk compared with women who have never used oral contraceptives. Atypical hyperplasia is a non-cancerous benign condition where there is a greater number of abnormal atypical cells in the breast tissue. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.

One possible reason for the link between alcohol and breast cancer is that alcohol is thought to cause higher levels of estrogen. Alcohol may also lower levels of some essential nutrients that protect against cell damage, such as folate a type of vitamin B , vitamin A and vitamin C. Obesity increases the risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Studies show that women who have never taken hormone replacement therapy and who have a body mass index BMI of Ovarian hormones, estrogens in particular, play an important role in breast cancer. Many of the risk factors for breast cancer are believed to result from the overall dose of estrogen the breast tissue receives over time. Having more fat tissue can increase estrogen levels and so increase the chance that breast cancer will develop.

Find out more about body weight and cancer risk. Physical inactivity increases the risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and post-menopausal women. A number of studies are currently looking into the role of exercise in breast cancer. Breast cancer risk is slightly higher for women with higher incomes.

This may be because of lifestyle factors that are linked to breast cancer, such as having children later in life or having fewer children. Research shows that tall women have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer after menopause. It is thought that energy intake and diet early in life, which affect adult height, are the factors that increase the risk, rather than just being tall. Tall women may also have a higher risk of developing breast cancer before menopause, but more research is needed to confirm this.

The following factors have been linked with breast cancer, but there is not enough evidence to show for sure that they are risk factors. More research is needed to clarify the role of these factors for breast cancer.

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There is consistent evidence from studies that adult weight gain is a probable cause of post-menopausal breast cancer. It is not certain whether lowering your weight would reduce the risk for breast cancer. Recent studies show that active smoking is related to breast cancer in both premenopausal and post-menopausal women.


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  • There is also a link between second-hand smoke and breast cancer, particularly in younger, mainly premenopausal women who have never smoked. There is not enough evidence to show a link between second-hand smoke and breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women. More research is needed to determine the impact of active smoking and second-hand smoke on the rate of new cases of breast cancer, death rates and the relationship between genetics and the risk of smoking.

    The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa
    The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa
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    The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa
    The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa The Big C in my Bra - Dealing with brCa
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