Constant nausea (feeling sick) Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite. Breast cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. signs and symptoms usually appear when the tumor grows large enough to feel like a lump in the breast or when the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and organs. Other health problems can cause the same symptoms as breast cancer.
In comparison, fatigue is a little-known complaint but very prevalent in patients with breast cancer and other types of cancer. It is difficult to determine the direction of causation between mood and fatigue, particularly in patients with chronic medical conditions, such as breast cancer. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by menstruation, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Several studies have shown that women with breast cancer complain of fatigue even before treatment begins.
Breast cancer that spreads from where it started to surrounding tissues is called invasive or infiltrating. One of the first places where breast cancer can spread is the lymph nodes under the arm, on the same side as breast cancer. Hot flashes, reported by 40 to 70% of breast cancer survivors, have been associated with greater sleep disturbance: increased wakefulness and decreased sleep in phase 2, with more stage changes towards lighter sleep when hot flashes occur. It may be in the same breast (local), in the lymph nodes close to the original cancer (regional), or in a part of the body that is further away (metastatic or distant).
As reviewed by Fiorentino and Ancoli-Israel,97 cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been shown to be effective and appropriate in the population with breast cancer. So, while the findings remain inconsistent, several studies suggest that underlying inflammation plays a role in breast cancer-related fatigue. For example, the Fatigue Symptom Inventory (FSI), 33, and the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory (MFSI) 32, while appropriate for evaluating fatigue in non-patient populations, were also originally normalized in patients with breast cancer. Modafinil (Provigil; Attenance), an agent that promotes wakefulness, has only recently been studied for its effects on cancer-related fatigue, but it has shown promising results in a couple of studies, including one with breast cancer survivors.