Signs of Breast Cancer – Some May Be Totally Unexpected
In the US, 1 out of 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer. While breast cancer is a rare occurrence in men, about 1 in 800 men is diagnosed with the disease. This number sounds alarming, especially when this dreadful disease affects you or your loved one.
But don’t worry because the key to beating breast cancer is early detection. All you need is knowledge and awareness on how to detect breast cancer early. With proper treatment and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can beat breast cancer and can proudly say, “I am a breast cancer survivor”, and be an inspiration to others.
So what are the early signs of breast cancer? Read further to know more about the common manifestations of breast cancer, the screening tests you should undergo, and the treatment approach for breast cancer.
What Is Breast Cancer?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines breast cancer as a disease in which the cells in the breast grow abnormally. As a result, there may be changes in the breast, such as the formation of a lump, skin dimpling, skin color and texture changes, how the nipple looks, and discharges. 1
Like other types of cancer, breast cancer has no known cause. However, risk factors such as an unhealthy lifestyle and family history play a role in the increased risk of the development of breast cancer. But is breast cancer curable? The chances for recovery are promising, especially when breast cancer is detected early.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
When it comes to the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, not all are alike for all patients. Some may have lumps, while some may not, and some may have lumps but are non-cancerous. Some may have nipple discharges, some only experience pain, and some don’t experience any symptoms.
That’s why it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the following signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Keep in mind that these signs may appear that are not related to cancer. However, if you’re starting to worry, it is best to see a doctor right away.
Warning Signs of Breast Cancer
- Soft, rounded, and tender lump in the breast or underarm area
- Unexplained pain in the breast or underarm area
- Swelling of the whole or portions of the breast (not related to pregnancy or having menstrual periods)
- Thickening of portions of the breast
- Dimpling or irritation of the breast’s skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the areola or nipple area
- Pain or physical changes in the nipple area
- Nipple discharges like clear fluid and blood (not to include breast milk)
- Changes in the size, shape, or overall appearance of the breast (not related to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or having menstrual periods)
If you’ve noticed, these warning signs are easy to detect if you perform a self-breast examination every month. Having one or several of these symptoms may not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Diagnostic tests like a mammogram or biopsy may confirm the presence of breast cancer. That’s why it’s important to consult a doctor right away.
How to Detect Breast Cancer Through Screening Tests
If you consult a doctor regarding the signs and symptoms mentioned above, you’ll most likely get screened through several diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of breast cancer. Here are some of the diagnostic tests:
- Mammogram: A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. Women above 40 years old are recommended to have an annual mammogram to detect breast cancer early.
- Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Breast MRI is usually performed along with mammograms. This diagnostic test involves the use of magnets and radio waves.
- Clinical Breast Exam: A doctor or nurse uses their hands to feel for lumps or any changes on the breast.
- Biopsy: During a biopsy, the doctor uses a special needle to extract the tissue from a lump. The tissue is then sent to the laboratory for further testing to determine if the cells are cancerous or not. 2
How to Beat Breast Cancer at an Early Stage?
Granted, the diagnostic tests mentioned above are performed, and the results confirm the presence of breast cancer. Don’t worry because there are treatment regimens to beat breast cancer. Early detection is the key, and procedures should not be delayed.
Typically, your doctor will recommend surgery to remove the cancerous parts of the breast. Also, depending on the stage of breast cancer, chemotherapy treatments may be recommended as well.
Fight Breast Cancer Like a True Warrior!
With early detection, along with proper treatment and living a healthy lifestyle, breast cancer can be beaten. By knowing the signs of breast cancer, full recovery is possible. With the knowledge you learned today, don’t forget to raise awareness for your family and friends as well.
1 CDC – What Is Breast Cancer?
2 Mayo Clinic – Diagnosing breast cancer