Breast Cancer Symptoms
Breast Cancer Symptoms
For many women, the first breast cancer symptom is a lump in one of their breasts. The majority of lumps – 9 out of 10 – are not cancerous. Breast lumps can be:
- Benign changes in breast tissues, which can cause lumpiness, especially in women over the age of 35
- Cysts – sacs of fluid within the breast tissue
- Fibroadenoma – groups of fibrous glandular tissue, more frequent in young women
What Should You Look Out For?
The most common breast cancer symptoms you should look out for are:
- A thickening or lump in your breast
- Changes in breast shape or size
- Skin dimpling
- Changes in the shape of one nipple (e.g.: skinned into the breast, irregular shaped or inverted nipple)
- Nipple discharge
- A rash on one nipple or the surrounding area
- A lump or swelling in your armpit
As in the case of lumps, these signs are not necessarily breast cancer symptoms. Whatever the situation might be, the best you can do is go to the doctor. It may be nothing and you can stop worrying or you may need treatment for another medical condition. If it actually is cancer, going to the doctor in time increases the chances of getting a successful treatment and being cured.
Pain is not generally a breast cancer symptom. Many women can have their breasts feeling lumpy or tender before a menstruation. Some benign lumps are painful. However, some breast cancers cause pain too, so if you are concerned, you should see a doctor.
A more rare type of breast cancer, called inflammatory breast cancer, can have other symptoms. The entire breast can look reddened and swollen and it can be sore. Sometimes the skin appearance is similar to an orange peel..
Another more scarce form of breast cancer is called Paget’s disease and appears as a red rash on your nipple or te area surrounding it. The rash is often itchy. It often looks like an eczema and can be mistaken for it at first.
What Should You Do If You Have Spotted A Lump?
If you discover any unusual change in your breast, see a doctor as soon as possible. You should be aware of what is normal and what is not for your breasts. Although most lumps are not cancerous, you should consult a doctor just in case. He will probably examine your breasts thoroughly and sometimes guide you further to a breast clinic. There they can perform a mammogram or some other tests to see whether the lump is a cyst filled with fluid or it is solid.
If it’s a cyst, they will probably drain it through a fine needle. If it’s a solid lump, they might get a tissue sample by sticking a needle into it for further cancer tests.
Many women prefer to have even their benign lumps removed by surgery just to be safe. Some of them are worried that they can mistake it with other lumps that may grow in the future. However, if your doctor ensures you the lump is not cancerous and you trust this diagnosis, you don’t have to remove it. Benign lumps don’t lead to cancer.
If your lump is indeed a cancer, the earlier you spot it and get a treatment, the higher your chances to be cured.