Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. It is most commonly diagnosed to women over the age of 50, but anyone can be diagnosed with it, including men. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to explain a little bit more about breast cancer, through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
There are many symptoms of breast cancer, the most common being lumps or unusual areas of thickened breast tissue. Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer. The NHS say you should see a doctor if you notice any of the below symptoms:
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Types of breast cancer
There are multiple types, but they are typically broken down into: invasive and non-invasive.
Invasive breast cancer is the most common. This is where the cancer cells have spread through the lining of the ducts into the surrounding tissue.
Non-invasive breast cancer is found in the ducts of the breast and has not spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts.
What is breast cancer caused by?
Direct causes of breast cancer are not known. However, there are factors that can increase the risk of getting it. These are:
- Being female
- Age (risk increases with age)
- Family history
- Previous diagnosis of breast cancer or non-cancerous breast lump
- Being tall, overweight or obese
- Alcohol consumption
Breast cancer treatment
When detected earlier enough, breast cancer can be treated before it spreads to other parts of the body.
Treatment usually consists of a combination of:
Treatment of cancer is generally invasive and extremely taxing on the body. Surgery requires many hours on the operating table having the tumours taking out, and chemo and radio therapy uses chemicals and high energy rays respectively to destroy cancer cells.
Whilst these treatments are highly successful, there are many side effects that affect each person differently. Side effects can range from severe fatigue, loss of appetite and feeling sick, to hair loss, muscle loss and weakened immune system. Side effects do stop but can take some time once treatment has finished; likewise, repeated bouts of chemo or radiotherapy can cause side effects to come back.
How TenClinical can help if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer
Whatever stage you are at, from diagnosis, going through treatment or in recovery, we can help you. We are clinical rehabilitation specialists, with expertise and experience in cancer rehabilitation.
Not everyone’s breast cancer journey is the same. Depending on the stage you are at, the treatment you select and your current physical, the path can vary massively. But whether you need to lose bodyfat or build muscle before an operation, maximise recovery during bouts of chemo/radio therapy, or get back to ‘normal’ life after you’ve been given the all clear, we are here to help you.
Our clinical specialist trainers can work with your doctors, surgeons and consultants to ensure your recovery is as swift as possible, to maximise your recovery and wellbeing.