What are the 5 warning signs of breast cancer?
As breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, women must keep looking for any symptoms. Women, after they attain the age of 40 must go for a screening once a year and must do self-examination regularly to check whether there is any symptom. Thus, it is important to know how these changes take place and when can a sign be a warning sign.
What Is a Normal Breast?
A healthy pair of breasts have common anatomy and it has nipples and areolas. Breast size can vary from woman to woman; some might have a small while some have a large breast. It is important to note that breast shape and size can vary due to hormonal fluctuations. Women who are pregnant can have a bit swollen breast while women who had their menopause can have saggy breasts. As women get older, their breasts start to sag.
Warning signs to look for
Women must always look for warning signs of breast cancer. Sometimes breast cancers are not detected in an early stage but women above the age of 40 must do regular self-examinations of their breasts. Following are some of the early signs of breast cancer in woman.
- Breast lump
Detecting a breast lump is the first sign of detecting breast cancer. The presence of a breast lump indicates that a tumour has been formed inside the breast which needs immediate attention. Sometimes even cysts can develop in the breasts which will ultimately ripe a tumour. A breast lump can be found even under the armpit.
Women must stand straight with their hands down the hip and feel their breasts with a slow circular motion. They can even lie down and feel the right breast with the left hand and vice versa. This helps in understanding the pattern of the breasts and detection of lymph if any.
- Nipple discharge
If a breast or breasts discharge any liquid, blood or pus, it is a warning sign that there is some problem going on with the breast. If a woman is not pregnant and still discharges milk, it can be a warning sign of breast cancer.
- Nipple retraction
The normal shape of a nipple must be pointed out. However, if a woman experiences that her nipple is pulled in then it can be a warning sign. Even men must look for such warning signs as breast cancers are common among men also.
- Skin changes
Breast cancer will give a warning on the skin. The skin around your breast and nipple may become flaky and red. Sometimes the outer layer of your breast can pain tremendously and become red and itchy. Some women also experience thickening of the skin around the breast. These are some of the major signs of breast cancer that must not be overlooked.
However, there can be other conditions also when the breasts behave in such way. If these signs appear daily or in quick succession, you must immediately plan your visit to an oncologist.
- Change in shape or size
A change in breast size can also be a warning sign for breast cancer. If the breast size increases too quickly or if a mole on the breast starts to develop, it can be a warning sign of breast cancer. Women must always check for any changes in breast size.
When to see a physician?
If a patient notices all the above signs, then they must visit an Oncologist. The sooner a patient visits a doctor, the sooner can the treatment start. However, every pain in the breast does not mean that a patient has breast cancer. There can be various other reasons for tenderness in breasts.
Hormonal fluctuations are responsible for breast tenderness and it can sometimes cause pain. Breast pain and tenderness is common among pregnant women during their first trimester because of the increased levels of the hormone in their body. If a person had a chest injury, breasts are likely to pain.
In the case of women, a poorly fitted bra can be one of the leading reasons for breast pain. Women who keep on wearing a bra for 20 hours are likely to have pain in the whole area. Some women also experience slight pain while breastfeeding.
If breast pain continues for a long time along with redness, lumps etc. a doctor must be consulted.
Therefore, a knowledge of the warning signs is a must as it will help in the early detection of breast cancer. Even men must look for the warning signs as cancer effects men also. Sometimes these warning signs can be a result of some other condition like the effect of a medication. It is the oncologist who will recognize the issue and guide the patients.