With the improvement and advancement in the medical world, the usage of screening techniques like mammograms have led to the early detection of breast cancers even before the symptoms are cited. However, it must be noted that even after that, some of the breast cancers are not detected by mammograms due to reasons including the ignorance of such a test or just because some of the cancers in the breast are not detected by it. Some people in the earlier stages tend to ignore the signs and symptoms which lead to disease progression.
Hence, it is highly recommended that people should be aware of the common warning signs of breast cancer and keep their vigil against it. We have listed some of the most typical warning signs of breast cancer; see below:
Lump or thickening
While touching or examining the breast you will experience an usual lump or thick mass which is not present in the other breast. This lump or thickening also feels different from the other neighbouring portion of your breast. In the initial stages of breast cancer, a lump or thickening is usually observed through the menstrual cycle and might disappear later.
Small unusual mass
A lump is usually visible to naked eye; however the lumps which are deep inside the breast aren’t visible as such; you can feel a small pea like mass while pressing the breast.
Visual changes in breast
Visual changes in the breast include changes in contour, shape, size of the breast. This can be easily compared with the other breast as reference. Any change in the appearance of breast which is different from the other breast is a warning sign.
Indents or dimple type appearance
This is one of the most typical warning sign of breast cancer; however most people tend to overlook it. A small area of the affected breast shows small dimply surface or indentation which you have to look for.
Redness swelling or inflammation of the breast
There can be swelling, redness or even tenderness in the breast because of breast cancer. Usually the lumps or thickened mass is painless however there can be swelling or tenderness of the breast which might be painful.
Unusual discharge from the nipple
Usually in the progressed stages of breast cancer, there is an usual blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
Visual changes in appearance of nipple
Other than changes in the breast there can be visual changes in the nipple as well. The nipple might show colour changes, size changes, shape changes etc. it might even become pricky and over sensitive. Watch out any darkening of the nipple or increase in surface area.
Different skin appearance on the breast
Other than the above mentioned changes in the breast, there can be other visual changes like a marble type skin appearance, skin hardening or thickening, area which is clearly different from other portions. Some patients even experience inversion of nipple or even development of small new nipple. Some other changes include peeling, scaling, deep pigmentation or de-pigmentation of the skin, etc.
While all the above mentioned symptoms associated with the cancer in the breast region can be due to other health concerns too, it is but of importance to let the medical practitioner know about the issue so that he or she can decide on the original reason and take the next course of action.
Most of the signs of breast cancer can be identified with the help of self-breast examination. Therefore, it is highly recommended for one to self-examine their breasts as a routine practice using a mirror. In case of any observation of the abovementioned symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. However some signs cannot be identified by the patient and therefore routine examination of the breasts by a physician is recommended. It is advised that women above 45 years should get annual screening of breast cancer done; contact your doctor for further information on the same.
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