Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women all over the world, and early diagnosis can help save them from lots of troubles. One of the most essential things about breast health is knowing what your breasts look and feel like normally. Regular screening tests are also important to maintain overall health, but it’s also important to remember mammograms do not find every breast cancer. This brings us to the point that knowing the signs and symptoms empowers a woman to take necessary steps for their health and seek professional help when needed.

What is breast cancer and knowing your breast?

Breast cancer is when cancerous cells in your breast multiply over time and become tumors. Studies have shown that almost 80% of cancer cases are invasive, which loosely translates to the fact that tumors may spread from your breast to other areas of your body.

Regularly performing self-exams allows you to understand your breasts and figure out any changes that may occur. The best time to perform a self-exam is a week after your period ends because that is when your breasts are least tender. 

How to perform self-exams:

You can do this by visually inspecting your breasts in the mirror while standing. Raise your arms overhead and then at your side. Look for anything unusual, like changes in shape or size, the contour of your breasts, dimpling, or even discoloration of skin.

You can even inspect your breasts while lying down. Use three middle fingers starting from the outer edge and move inwards towards the nipple using a circular motion.

Early signs of breast cancer symptoms:

Breast cancer symptoms differ for different people. Many don’t notice any symptoms at all. The most common sign of breast cancer in women is the formation of painful breast lumps or armpit lumps.

A few others include:

  • The skin texture around the breast can change, such as dimpling of breast skin, rash, or even redness. The skin could be the same texture as the peel of an orange.
  • You can also look for swelling in your armpits or near your collarbone. This means that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of that particular area.
  • Sometimes, a marble-like area that feels different from a part of your breasts might appear under your skin.
  • You could be experiencing pain or tenderness; the cause of breast tenderness could be lumps because even though they don’t hurt, they could leave a prickly feeling.
  • Sometimes, there are some lumps you can’t see or feel, so those leave behind a flat or indented area on your breast.
  • There could also be changes in breast shape and size; there could even be a change in the texture or temperature of your breast.
  • Changes could also come about in your nipples; for example they could pull inward, become dimples, burn, or itch.
  • There also may be signs of nipple discharge; it could either be clear, bloody, or any other color.

Risk factors of Breast Cancer:

  • The risk of breast cancer increases if there is a history of breast cancer in your family, either a parent or a sibling.
  • Your risk is higher of getting breast cancer if you have a personal history of it. If you have had cancer in one breast, there is an increased risk of getting it in the other breast.
  • If you start your period before the age of 12, this increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • If your menopause comes about after the age of 55, this also increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Both males and females have breast tissues, so they can both get breast cancer, but women are most likely to get breast cancer.
  • Having your first child after the age of 30 or never having been pregnant also increases your risk of getting breast cancer.
  • As your age increases, so does the risk of breast cancer.

Importance of Early Detection:

Catching breast cancer in early stages leads to successful treatment and a positive outcome. Early detection helps prevent cancer from spreading to other body parts, leading to more effective treatment options and a higher recovery rate.

What to remember:

Early detection is critical when it comes to breast cancer. Familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms so that you know what to do if anything out of the ordinary takes place. Regularly performing self-exams helps maintain a healthy life and enables you to stay up to date with your breast health. Next, don’t hesitate to consult a professional if any issue arises.


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