If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with breast cancer, a breast cancer helpline can provide support, information and resources to help you through a challenging time. Breast cancer develops as the result of abnormal cell growth that occurs quickly and aggressively. Sometimes the cells can grow in a group or cluster, which can cause a tumor to form. Here are three crucial areas of the disease that a helpline can help you to understand.
1. Understanding the Symptoms and When You Should Speak to a Doctor
Contrary to what some women may think, breast cancer is not something that develops overnight and there are a number of different symptoms that may or may not be present. Sometimes a mass or lump in the breast tissue may present. You may experience nipple or breast pain, or a skin irritation or dimpling. On other occasions the breast may become red, hot or swollen or it might produce a discharge. Sometimes lymphatic swelling under the arms can also develop. None of these symptoms are guaranteed to be signs of breast cancer and could be caused by other factors. It frequently happens that women whose breast cancer is diagnosed through mammogram have no physical symptoms at all. So when should you speak to your doctor? Any change in your breasts that does not self-resolve or becomes worse should be discussed with your doctor. If you have any doubts or you find something unusual after hours, you can call the helpline.
2. Understanding Your Diagnosis
Mammograms are the most common way of screening for breast cancer. If you do not have any physical symptoms a mammogram may show the presence of a lesion. If there is an irregularity you will need to have a biopsy, where the pathologist will examine your breast tissue. This will show up potential signs of malignancy. Early detection of breast cancer is ideal so it is recommended that you go for regular checkups, as you have more treatment options and better chances of the treatment being successful.
3. Getting To Grips With Treatment Options
While you are strongly advised to follow the recommendations of your doctor, you may want a second opinion or to research further into your treatment options. If tissue is to be removed from the breast, the procedure is called a lumpectomy; if the whole breast is removed it is known as a mastectomy. Radiation is currently being used as a popular treatment because it reduces your chances of going into remission, while chemotherapy may be another option you are faced with.
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