How Breast Cancer Affects Relationships

A breast cancer diagnosis can cause emotional distress for both the individual and their family/friends. While breast cancer may not cause interpersonal problems, it can often worsen deteriorating relationships. For more on how breast cancer affects relationships, continue reading.


Familial Relationships

It can be difficult to share your breast cancer diagnosis with loved ones. You may want to shield them from feeling worried or afraid, but this is not an experience you can face alone. Be prepared for an outpouring of support and handouts. Everyone will want to feel like they are helping you in some way.

Your role as a woman, mother, daughter, or sister may look different. Your biggest priority is your own health and wellbeing, so don’t feel bad letting other people take over other areas of your life. Trust that they have your best intention at heart.


Intimate Relationships

Depending on the stage or treatment for your breast cancer diagnosis, you may find it difficult to remain intimate with your partner. You may each face worries and insecurities about the relationship, which can ultimately bring you closer together or tear you apart.

It is important to discuss your needs and concerns as a couple. Communication will be key to navigating new and uncomfortable situations. If you’re struggling to communicate, it may be helpful to talk to a licenced counselor or therapist. 



Battling cancer can greatly affect your self-image and confidence. It may be hard to view your body in a positive light when you feel it working against you.

The most important relationship to work on during this time is the one you have with yourself. Women who undergo a mastectomy may feel at odds with their body, so practice compassion and self-love when looking at yourself in the mirror. 

Relationships will be tested by cancer, but a strong support system will prevail. If you become concerned about issues relating to your relationships or intimacy, it may help to talk to your treatment team or general practitioner.

Exercise After Breast Cancer Treatment

It is common for women who undergo multiple breast cancer treatments to experience extreme fatigue, which can result in lack of motivation for physical activity and exercise. While this may be the case for most patients, research shows that a consistent fitness regiment after treatment improves stamina and overall quality of life. Exercise has also been linked to a reduced risk of recurrence, especially regarding breast cancer. We’ve gathered a list of useful tips to help maintain a balanced fitness routine following your treatment. 


Breathing Exercises 

Breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety while improving overall relaxation and flexibility. For deep breathing, breathe in through the nose for four seconds; hold your breath to the count of seven, and slowly exhale through pursed lips for about eight seconds. Repeat this exercise at least four times and practice daily. 


Post Chemotherapy Exercises 

Alleviating fatigue post chemo can be as simple as walking at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Start slowly, building up your time from five minutes twice a day to 30 minutes at least five days a week. If 30 minutes is too much for your body, it is okay to break up your routine and walk 10 minutes during the mornings, afternoons, and evenings between meals. 


Post Radiation Therapy Exercises 

Scarring as a result of radiation therapy is known to cause limited mobility. To improve flexibility, practice stretching exercises such as arm rotations and shoulder shrugs. Hold both arms to the right and rotate in a circular motion at least eight times while doing the same on the left. 

Shoulder shrugs can be done at the comfort of your desk or kitchen table. Place both your arms alongside your body and breathe in through the nose and raise your shoulders to your ears. Hold for five seconds then breathe out through the lips as you push your shoulders down. Be sure to engage your back muscles and repeat at least two times.


Be Mindful of Your Body

Prior to starting any sort of exercise program, talk to your doctor in order to monitor your health and recovery process. During this time, it is important to pay attention to your body and not to over exert yourself. Increase your repetitions slowly and see how your body responds in the 24 hours following exercise. If you are overly strained, reduce your activities and slowly increase your workout intensity over time. 

Regardless of your level of physical activity prior to the start of your treatment, you will need to pace yourself and your exercise intensity accordingly. Each person will have their own unique recovery process, so don’t feel compelled to follow a strict workout routine or discouraged by your specific journey. Recovery is not linear; on days where your body feels overly strained, it is okay to take breaks and allow yourself to rest. Keep a constant flow of communication with your doctors and caregivers to shape your exercise plan in accordance with your needs.

Recovering From A Mastectomy

Mastectomy is a treatment option in which the entire breast is removed in order to prevent breast cancer recurrence or as a preventative measure in high risk individuals. Many women choose mastectomy as part of their healing journey. Recovery for everyone may look different depending on the type of mastectomy performed and due to the fact that everyone responds differently to surgery. Continue reading for a summary of typical experiences. 

Surgery Recovery
Following mastectomy surgery, your vitals will be monitored by hospital staff. It is important to let your doctor or nurses know if you begin to experience symptoms, such as nausea or headache, as you may require medication post-anesthesia. Once you are admitted to a room, the average stay is 3 days or less, unless you have undergone reconstruction at the same time.

At-Home Recovery 

It may take a few weeks to fully recover from a mastectomy or possibly longer if you’ve opted for reconstruction. Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions closely. Some general guidelines include:

Listen to Your Doctor
It’s important to always follow the advice of your healthcare provider and if you have any questions or concerns post-surgery to let them know immediately.

Post-surgery, your body will feel quite fatigued from the experience. It is important to get enough rest, which will be significantly more than your body normally requires, in the first few weeks after your procedure. Refrain from any physical labor around the house, despite how minimal it may seem.

Pain Medication
You can expect slight pain or numbness in the chest where the breast incision took place. If needed, take pain medication in accordance with your specific guidelines.

An important part of recovery is doing arm exercises each day in order to keep it limber. Continuing an arm routine on a regular basis after recovery will prevent stiffness and retain flexibility.

Lifestyle Changes
Recovery from a mastectomy, like any major surgery, will take time. Listen to your body and slowly get back into a routine that works for you. You will need help with meals, home care, and tending to basic needs. Be sure to ask for help if you need it. 

Gradually, your body will adjust to the surgery. In the months following a mastectomy, you may experience phantom pain or sensations as nerves regrow. The discomfort may diminish, however, your body will learn to adapt to it. Follow up with your doctor as needed and call Little Silver Mammography if you are in need of our assistance.

Non-cancerous Breast Conditions

Finding a lump on your breast can be a frightening experience, however, it is important to remember that not all lumps are cancerous. Non-cancerous, also known as benign, breast conditions refer to abnormal changes in the breast, such as cysts, discharge, or other irritations that are non-life threatening. While they may not pose an immediate threat on your health, some of these conditions are linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future. They can also cause tenderness and pain that affects daily functioning. Non-cancerous breast conditions should be treated with the same attentiveness and care as breast cancer.


Types of Non-cancerous Breast Conditions
  • Breast cysts
  • Fibroadenomas
  • Hyperplasia
  • Intraductal papilloma
  • Mammary duct ectasia
  • Traumatic fat necrosis


What Causes Non-cancerous Breast Conditions?

Non-cancerous breast conditions can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • Breast makeup (fatty tissue or dense breasts)
  • Age
  • Hormones 
  • Birth control 
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause 
  • Being overweight
  • Fibrocystic breast changes
  • Breast infection


What Are the Symptoms of Non-cancerous Breast Conditions?

Different breast conditions will trigger different symptoms, however, many will share symptoms such as:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Redness or irritation
  • Change in breast size or shape
  • A lump
  • Nipple retraction
  • Nipple discharge
  • Scaly nipples or breast


How to Diagnose Non-cancerous Breast Conditions 

If you begin to notice any changes or problems with your breast(s), talk to your doctor immediately. Discuss your symptoms and share any history of cancer within your family with them. Sometimes, your doctor will detect potential problems during a routine screening even if you have not begun to experience symptoms yet. Diagnostic testing such as mammograms or ultrasounds may be required in order to rule out cancer. In the case of a lump on the breast, your doctor may suggest surgery or aspiration in order to obtain a sample to be tested. If you are suffering from abnormal nipple discharge, your doctor may sample and analyze the fluid. Test results are sent to a lab to be examined, then your doctor will contact you by phone. If your results show a benign breast condition, it is recommended to follow up with your doctor in 4-6 weeks.


How to Treat Non-cancerous Breast Conditions

Most of these conditions will not require additional treatment once diagnosed. Some conditions, such as duct ectasia, cysts, and mastitis may require antibiotics or pain relievers. In some cases, such as fat necrosis and intraductal papillomas surgery may be required.

If you’re dealing with a breast condition, we are here for you. Call us at 732-741-9595 or fill out our online appointment form.

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

The warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer can vary from woman to woman, so it is crucial to become familiar with how your own breasts normally look and feel. In addition to your annual screening mammograms, you should try to do a monthly breast self-examination to maintain peak breast health. Unfortunately, some mammograms may not detect every breast cancer, so it is important for you to be able to notice changes in your breasts that may need to be medically looked at. While the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass, other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Breast thickening or swelling
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Nipple discharge or redness
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Any other change in the size or the shape of the breast or nipple


How to do a Breast Self-Exam 

Begin by standing up straight and examining your breasts in the mirror. You should look for any distortion, swelling, or discoloration of the breasts and nipples. Next, raise your arms and look for the same changes in the mirror. Lie down and use a firm, circular motion to feel all the tissue from each breast. Make sure to cover the entire surface area of the breast, from your collarbone to your abdomen. Sit up, and repeat this hand movement across each entire breast again. If you notice any rashes, discharge, or lumps, you should immediately bring this to your doctor’s attention. 


Get the Answers You Need

If you’ve experienced any of the warning signs listed above or found a lump during your breast self-exam, be sure to see a health care provider or breast imaging specialist. The experts at Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace have access to cutting edge technology to ensure the best patient care. Knowing what symptoms to look for does not replace an annual mammogram and diagnostic screenings. Screening tests may be able to detect breast cancer before you even begin to notice any symptoms. Early detection is the key to successful treatment, so don’t wait for symptoms to appear, call us today to discuss your options.

Are you worried that you are at risk for breast cancer?

Women in America have a 12% chance of a breast cancer diagnosis sometime within their lifetime. While women shouldn’t let the fear of cancer consume their lives, they should remain aware of the very real possibility. There are a variety of risk factors that can lead to breast cancer that women can and cannot control, so it is important to stay informed, maintain a healthy lifestyle and know the risks.


Risk Factors

  1. Age

Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are 50 and over, and the risk continues to increase as you age.

  1. Ethnic Background

Caucasian women are the most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, while African-American women are at greater risk of dying it. Native American, Asian, and Hispanic women are the least likely to develop the disease.

  1. Family History

The risk can be doubled if your first-degree relative has had the disease, but you may still get breast cancer without a family history.

  1. Genes

Mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are the cause for a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer risk.


What Is a Significant Family History? 

Having a significant family history puts you and your blood relatives at increased risk of developing breast cancer. You may be considered to have a significant family history if:

  • a relative has had breast cancer before the age of 40
  • a relative has had breast cancer in both breasts
  • a male relative has had breast cancer
  • two or more relatives have had breast cancer
  • a relative has had breast or ovarian cancer


What should I do if I’m concerned?

Begin conducting breast self-exams as soon as possible to start familiarizing yourself with your body. If you have reason to be concerned, it is important to find out your level of risk by talking to your doctor or OB-GYN. If they believe you to be at risk, they may suggest genetic testing to find out if you have inherited an altered gene. Annual mammograms should begin at age 40, or earlier if you are deemed high risk, for greater chances of early detection. The best protection is early detection, so stay honest with yourself and your healthcare team.

All You Need to Know About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women. It is a disorder that is so common yet many women are not familiar with it.  PCOS consists of your ovaries becoming enlarged and containing cysts around your ovaries. These can cause an array of symptoms that range from woman to woman.

The biggest and most common symptom of PCOS is spaced out or no periods. Because of the deformity in the ovaries, your periods tend to lessen, becoming shorter and irregular. It is also the leading cause of infertility. A few other symptoms of PCOS are weight gain especially around your abdomen, hair growth on your face and body called heurism, a darker neck and joints than other women, and the loss of hair on your head. Some of the mental health symptoms can be anxiety and depression.

The reason why PCOS occurs is because of enlarged ovaries as well as a hormonal imbalance. When there is a hormonal imbalance in your body, with an increase in male hormones and an imbalance in female hormones, PCOS tends to occur.

Many people wonder about how to combat this condition. Currently, there is no cure or solution, it is a life long illness. However, there is a way to manage it. Many women that do have PCOS can lead pretty normal lives as long as they take care of themselves. Here are a couple of tips to avoid contracting PCOS: 

Maintain a healthy body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is extremely crucial when it comes to PCOS. You need to be at the optimal weight so your reproductive organs can work in the best possible way and provide the right environment for fertilization.

A healthy lifestyle

Even if you are of a healthy weight, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to managing PCOS. If you have too many sugary foods or drinks, too many complex carbs or fats, they will throw out the balance of your hormones causing problems such as PCOS.

What is Breast Density and How Does it Affect a Mammography Reading?


In the United States alone, more than 50% of women aged 40 and older have dense breasts. Breast density is determined by the proportions of fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and fibrous connective tissue present in the breasts in comparison to the proportion of fat tissue. Glandular and fibrous connective tissues are more dense than fat tissue. The higher the amount of glandular and fibrous connective tissues, the more dense the breast is. Dense breast tissue cannot be felt or seen by means of a clinical or self breast exam. A screening mammogram is the only way to diagnose a woman with dense breasts.


What are the different categories of breast density?



Breast density is categorized into four different levels according to the degree of density. These levels are: A, B, C, and D.

A- Breasts are composed of almost entirely fatty tissues.
B- Breasts are composed of scattered areas of dense, glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue.
C- Breasts are composed of heterogeneously dense breast tissue with many areas of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue.
D- Breasts are composed of extremely dense breast tissue.


How does breast density affect a mammography reading?

 Breast tissue that is dense appears white on a mammogram screening, which is the same color that indicates many breast abnormalities. This can make it more difficult for a radiologist to detect tumors and other malignancies, or it can increase the likelihood of false positives that can lead to the patient undergoing unnecessary additional testing.


How can women with dense breasts get the most accurate mammography reading?

Women with dense breasts should opt for a yearly 3D mammography screening. In comparison to a 2D mammography, a 3D mammography significantly reduces false positives for women with dense breasts. A routine screening breast ultrasound is also strongly recommended as a supplemental screening to a 3D mammogram to improve detection of breast cancer and other abnormalities. Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace offers the ultimate care for women with dense breasts by providing 3D mammography screenings and breast ultrasounds with same-day results.

All You Need to Know About a Mammography Scan

A mammography scan, also known as a mammogram, is a specialized x-ray imaging of the breast that is used to detect and diagnose breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. Images are created of the inside of the breasts by exposing the breast tissue to a small number of ionizing radiations. There are currently three types of mammography screenings: digital mammography, breast tomosynthesis and computer-aided detection.

Digital Mammography:
In this type of mammography, with the use of electronics, mammographic pictures of the breasts are obtained. This process works like a camera and clear pictures are captured with exposure to low radiation. They can then be transferred into a computer for the examination by radiologists and can be retained for long term usage.

Computer-Aided Detection:
This type focuses on any unusual and irregular changes in the breasts. They produce images that highlight risky, abnormal areas of density, or masses which can give indication of cancer. The radiologists can then focus on these areas and assess the seriousness of the disease.

Breast Tomosynthesis:
This type is an advanced version of the digital mammography that produces a three-dimensional result. A large number of images are captured from various angles and gathered to make a three-dimensional image of the infected breast.
It is extremely important that all women aged 40 or older have a yearly mammography scan, as it plays a crucial role in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and other breast diseases. Any unusual alterations in the breast can be identified a year before the person can feel them.

Breast cancer can be detected by the use of mammography scans at an early stage when the chances of curing them are the highest.

How to give yourself a routine breast cancer check

It is recommended that all women aged 20 and over begin conducting monthly breast self-exams to identify and keep track of any changes in their breasts.

Establishing a regular self-exam schedule allows women to detect abnormalities including lumps, changes in skin texture, or discharge. Self-examination is important in order to detect and diagnose breast cancer at an early stage when it is the most curable.

Follow these steps to check yourself for breast cancer:

1. Stand undressed in front of a full-length miror. If your breasts are not of the same size, you don’t need to worry as this is common in many women. Check for any lumps, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the size and shape of the breasts. Check for any changes in your nipples.

2. Observe the outer parts of your breast after tightening your muscles below the breasts. You can do so by putting your hands on your hips and pressing down firmly.

3. Next, bend towards the mirror and further tighten your muscles by rolling your shoulders and elbows forward. Observe any changes to the breasts shape. Place your hands on the back of your head and press them forward. Then observe the shape.

4. Check for any fluid discharge through your nipples. You can do so by using your thumb and forefinger.

When in the shower:

  • Apply some soap and water on your hands and feel for any changes in your breasts.
  • Look for any thick or lumpy areas.
  • Check for lumps both above and below the collarbone.

When lying down: 

  • Lie down with a pillow underneath your right shoulder.
  • Place your left hand on the right breast and your right hand behind your head.
  • Then start moving your hand in a circular pattern around your breast to identify any thick areas or anything unusual.
  • Put your fingers on the nipples and press them inwards, they should move easily.

If you do find a lump or notice a new change in your breast tissue, you do not need to panic. Changes in the breasts do not always signal cancer; they may be the result of many other conditions. If you are still concerned, feel free to give Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace a call (732-741-9595) to discuss any questions that you may have and to schedule an appointment.