It's one of the most common cancers that affects women. That's why you need to know these symptoms and signs.
The diagnosis of a life-threatening disease is something nobody in the world wants to hear. So, the best way to handle the risk of something like cancer well is by knowing more about it. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women, without counting some forms of skin cancer. And while detecting lumps in the breasts are known to be the most common sign of this cancer, there are a few other symptoms of breast cancer that not many know about.
The best thing for women to do is regularly get screenings done so that cancer can be detected early. The findings of a study published on Wiley Online Library highlighted that women who participate in breast cancer screening programs had a 60% lower risk of dying within 10 years of a breast cancer diagnosis, compared to women who didn't take screenings. This could be because screenings help in detecting cancer early and getting yourself the required treatment you need to recover from it.
These are the common symptoms of breast cancer that you need to stay aware of to jump into action at the right time.
Another effect of inflammation in your breasts is skin dimpling. Because of this, the cancer cells might cause lymph fluid to accumulate in your breasts. The skin is often described as the surface of an orange. You might notice swelling and dimpling because of the fluid build up.
While breasts do swell up because of hormonal changes, especially during PMS and pregnancy, they might also swell up as a result of cancer. One breast that is affected by cancer could become larger in size than the other. Dr. Patt explained that the size and the position of the tumor will affect the swelling of your breast.
Because of the inflammation caused by cancer, the texture of your skin might start changing around your nipples. You might notice that your skin is becoming scaly and severely dry, almost like it's sunburned. The skin of your breasts might start becoming thick as well. Itching might also arise as a result of these changes, according to Medical News Today.
Any form of nipple discharge, apart from the time you're breastfeeding, is a reason for you to be cautious. What you especially need to watch out for is whether the discharge is red or green in color and has an odor. "It’s normal to have some leakage during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and up to a year after weaning your baby, but if you notice any discharge any other time it needs to be evaluated by a doctor," said Debra Patt, M.D., ob-gyn and breast cancer expert, according to Women's Health.
Experiencing pain in your breast or nipple can be a symptom of breast cancer. You might feel a sort of heaviness, or tenderness, or a burning sensation in the area, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Among the many changes that affect your breasts, one of them is also nipple retraction or inversion. This is when your nipple reverses or turns inward into your breast. This condition occurs when the tumor attacks the duct behind the nipple, pulling it in. However, one needs to remember that this symptom could be a result of other conditions as well.
There are some cases where cancer can spread to your lymph nodes. As a result of this, you might notice a lump or swelling in your underarms or around the collar bone. Keeping a lookout for this can be helpful because you might feel them even before the original tumor is large enough to be felt in your breast, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you notice that your breasts look discolored, having a red, purple, or bluish tint, it could be because of cancer. Dr. Patt explained, "Any unusual thickening, redness, rash, dimpling, or puckering of your breast skin, or around the nipple, should be checked out by your doctor."
If you notice any of the above symptoms of a combination of them, make sure to seek medical help as soon as you can. Most of these symptoms are not normal, and even if they are not cancer, they could be a result of another medical issue that needs attention.