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Breast cancer: Put your questions to Breakthrough Breast Cancer's experts here

(54 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-Sep-09 10:43:33

Mumsnet are working with breast cancer charity Breakthrough in the lead up to October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Post any questions you have about breast cancer before Sept 21st and we'll pass them on to Breakthrough Breast Cancer's panel of experts (see below). We’ll then post the answers to the most common questions on 1 October.

The panel is made up of:
Dawn Symonds, Breast Cancer Nurse: Dawn is the Lead Breast Care Nurse at Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Every day Dawn helps women come to terms with the fact that they have breast cancer, helping them through their treatment and beyond.

Dr Sarah Cant, Policy Manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer: Sarah is an expert on a wide range of subjects including what we currently know about the causes of breast cancer and the factors that may increase or decrease a person’s risk of developing the disease, breast cancer services and treatments and how to be breast aware.

Dr Kai-Keen Shiu: Kai-Keen is a medical doctor who specialises in cancer treatment. He is taking time out from his clinical work to carry out vitally important research as an Avon Clinical Research Fellow at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre in London. His research looks HER2 positive breast cancer, which makes up one in four of all breast cancers, and why some women in this group become resistant to treatment.

Breakthrough are also keen to compile the top 10 best bits of advice you've ever been given on anything, which they will use to publicise their breast cancer awareness advice. If you'd like to add your best bit of advice and be in with a chance of winning £100 of M&S vouchers click here.



TracyK Thu 10-Sep-09 17:28:46

I have always had lumpy breasts - so never know if I have a 'lump' or not.

I've noticed recently that I have a stronger than usual underarm sweat smell from one armpit only (weird!!) - is this anything to worry about? Soap doesn't really take the smell completely away and it's ok on the other side!

TitsalinaBumsquash Thu 10-Sep-09 17:38:10

I am so concerned about Cancer in general especially Breast Cancer.

This is probably a really silly question, but are you more likley to get it if you have bigger Breasts? blush

cocolepew Thu 10-Sep-09 17:39:06

Do you have to have a lump to have breast cancer? I've had an ache in one of mine for a few months, pain goes up into my armpit.

Northernlurker Thu 10-Sep-09 19:30:45

What a good idea!

My question: many of us will know women diagnosed in the past who have eventually died from breast cancer. We will also know people being diagnosed now in 2009. Can you tell us how treatments have improved and what impact that will have on survival. What differences can bee seen between now and ten and twenty years ago?

shonaspurtle Thu 10-Sep-09 19:37:57

My mum was diagnosed 2 years ago aged 59, and they reckon it may have been connected to long-term hrt treatment she'd been receiving. No other immediate family members with breast cancer.

Should I be asking for any sort of screening given that there doesn't seem to be any sort of genetic component and she wasn't diagnosed pre-menopausally? (is that a word?!)

TitsalinaBumsquash Thu 10-Sep-09 20:22:23

Also - another probably silly question.

Does the type of Bra you wear effect your risk of getting Cancer? For instance wearing a Bra overnight or the worng size or underwired?

I also read that if you get hit in the breast it can highten your chances of getting it?

Sorry these are all things i have read or been told by people, sorry if they sound a bit dim.

LeonieSoSleepy Thu 10-Sep-09 20:30:20

Message withdrawn

hunkermunker Thu 10-Sep-09 20:38:33

Why don't the breast cancer charities work more closely with the breastfeeding charities?

cookielove Thu 10-Sep-09 20:41:07

i have a question i have quite small breast and although i like to think i know what they are meant to feel like i'm not sure, when i feel them especially my right i can feel almost like a plate thats about an inch long and wide maybe a but smaller, and feels bumpy and sore if prod to much, as can kinda feel one on the other side i assume its meant to be there is it?

whomovedmychocolate Thu 10-Sep-09 21:18:10

Can you actually get breast cancer while you are breastfeeding? I've always assumed lumps are related to this but perhaps that's daft and I should be going to the GP.

Also, since starting breastfeeding my nipples are very different, sometimes they are puckered in and sometimes out - I know that can be a sign of breast cancer, but is that normal for breastfeeding?

lulalullabye Thu 10-Sep-09 22:04:53

My dh's mother and auntie both had breast cancer, his auntie died. We have two dd's. Can the breast cancer gene pass through dh to dd's and when do you pose the question to them of whether to get tested for the gene ??

Caz10 Thu 10-Sep-09 22:05:24

breastfeeding has made me very confused in terms of breast awareness - like a poster above I worry that I am ignoring lumps and bumps and pain and just attributing them to bf - maybe I shouldn't?

Another urban myth type question - but is deodorant linked to breast cancer? I use a very "strong" brand and always have a slight twinge of worry when I put it on.

TheOldestCat Thu 10-Sep-09 22:11:00

Good question, hunkermunker.

Mine is - my lovely (and much missed) sister-in-law had one of the BRCA mutations. Should my DH (her brother) be tested, since we have a daughter? (I know men can develop breast cancer too). He has a 'strong' family history - sister had it in her 30s and aunt in her 40s.

Thanks and keep up the good work, Breakthrough - I used your website a lot during the dark days.

sallyjaygorce Thu 10-Sep-09 22:45:12

Have cases of breast cancer increased and if so why do you think this might be?

Also - a bit silly but friends wondering too - what is the best way to removed hairs from nipples? Does plucking increase cancer risk? (!)

LedodgyDailyMailstinksofpoo Thu 10-Sep-09 23:02:28

Why do you not publicise the fact that men get breast cancer too?

Also like women is the hereditory factor a concern for men too? I ask because having a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who have died from breast cancer, I am about to undergo tests to see if I have the gene. I know if I have it then my children have a 50 per cent chance of getting the gene does this include the boys?

HerHonesty Fri 11-Sep-09 09:09:10

Family carries the BRCA2 gene, for which i have been tested and get the result in November.

how reliable is the test - can they get it wrong?

if i am a carrier are there any known/proven ways of preventing getting BC different from what they recommend to none carriers (ie is there any point trying to prevent it, is futile if i am a gene carrier?)

also please please please can you do some lobbying to get screening programmes more uniform across the country - i currently come into london at least 6 times a year for mri, mamogram, ultrasound, blood test at two different hospitals (which i acknowledge i am very very lucky to have)

i live 2 hours out of london, so the expense and time spent is massive. seems silly when i live about 10 minutes away from 3 hospitals. My pct dont offer the same screening, only biannual mammorgram.

HerHonesty Fri 11-Sep-09 09:10:33

sorry, mammogram. and thanks mumsnet. great idea.

etchasketch Fri 11-Sep-09 09:30:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

etchasketch Fri 11-Sep-09 09:31:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dazmum Fri 11-Sep-09 10:01:49

My mother's sister died from breast cancer last year, and my great grandmother died from it too, so it seems to have skipped a generation. Would this mean that we only have a tenuous genetic tendency towards it, or was it just bad luck? Would this actually count as a family history of breast cancer for me?

I am now 50, so would I be eligible for a regular mammogram screening? Does my surgery automatically notify me of this or do I have to arrange it myself?

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 11-Sep-09 11:19:27

I would like to know if, statisically, there is an increase in breast cancer rates among younger (pre menopausal women).

My maternal grandmother died from breast cancer in her late 60s and I grew up with the impression that it was an older women's disease. Now, in my mid 40s, I know, or know of a dozen women who have or have had breast cancer in the last 5 years, including a 19 year old who had to have a double mastectomy. Are rates in the younger women increasing or are we just more aware and talking more about it?

MaryAnnSingleton Fri 11-Sep-09 11:27:39

what a good idea this is - I was diagnosed with bc in April and have since had surgery,radiotherapy and am now on tamoxifen for 5 years.
I have been on the very good Breast Cancer Care Forum a lot which has been invaluable with it's advice and support. One of the rather heated discussions concerned the fact that the pink frilliness that surrounds the public face of breast cancer seems to treat the whole thing in a sanitised,easy to cope with package and overlooks the fact that people actually don't know much about breast cancer and just how many people go on to develop recurrences or secondary breast cancers. For example - do people know that there is more than one kind of breast cancer ? This is not denying the good things that people do to promote awareness of bc and the money raised - but to perhaps look beneath the happy face that is presented by the pinkness.

porolli Fri 11-Sep-09 12:01:43

my mother had breast cancer 12 years ago, had a mastectomy and radiotherapy and appeared to recover fully. last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer secondaries in the pleura (lung lining) and bones.
doctors are apparently saying she's 'well' and she seems quite well. I want to know what her realistic chances are at the moment. what is the prognosis once you have secondaries? no-one will discuss it and I feel I can't bring it up anywhere, but I feel I need to know.

also, I was told originally that it was not an inheritable type but I have recently read that having any close relative with breast cancer increases the risk, regardless of whether you carry the gene. is this true? should I get checked? I'm 40.

Thank you.

Doobydoo Fri 11-Sep-09 14:56:14

Very useful thread...Thankyou.
I read in Goodhousekeeping that women over 40 should have mammograms.
I am 40 should I go for my 1st mammogram?
How often should I go?
How much would it cost?
By I...I mean 40 year old plus women .smile


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