7 Warning Signs for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is treatable, and the survival rate is high. Breast cancer is highly treatable when caught early before it has spread to other areas of the body. There are warning signs for breast cancer you can watch for. According to ASCO (a leading source of physician-reviewed cancer data), when breast cancer is isolated to only the breast(s), the 5-year survival rate is promising, at about 99%.
ASCO also states that early diagnosis and treatment are crucial because only 62% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the earliest stages. This is why it is critical that men and women know the warning signs and seek treatment right away.
You should check your breasts every month at about the same time each month (particularly for women). This will help you become familiar with the way your breasts feel at that specific point of the month. Performing your self-check at the same time each month is important because breasts can feel differently throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.
If you feel or notice any of the following 7 warning signs during your monthly checks, contact your physician right away for an examination.
#1: One of Breast Cancer’s Warning Sign is Swelling
People with breast cancer may notice a sudden change in the size of one breast. While there are many reasons why this could happen, it’s best to bring it to the attention of a doctor. Keep in mind that it does not have to be the entire breast. It can be just a portion of the breast that appears swollen
One or both breasts may look irritated. Many people describe the skin texture as looking like an orange peel with tiny little dimples everywhere.
The breasts and/or nipples are tender. This pain should be independent of a menstrual period or pregnancy. If you’ve just had your period and are not pregnant, see your doctor to find out why your breasts are tender.
#4: Changes in the Nipple
The nipple retracts into the breast. This is one of the most obvious signs because people notice it almost immediately when undressed.
#5: Other Changes in Breast Appearance
Skin may look thick, red, and scaly. These are abnormal breast changes and can be a sign that something is wrong.
Men and non-breastfeeding women may notice discharge from their nipple. This will occur spontaneously and is not a result of squeezing the breast. Most people will notice the discharge on the inside of their clothing, especially if it’s bloody. The discharge can also be clear, which can be harder to detect. If you experience any nipple discharge, regardless of color, see your doctor.
The most well-known warning sign of breast cancer is finding a lump. Lumps can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). The only way to know for sure is to have a biopsy performed. Most medical professionals will test a lump even if they suspect it is noncancerous.
Some people will notice one or more warning signs of breast cancer, but choose to ignore them because they think it’s no big deal or they are scared of the outcome. Do not take these signs lightly. Early detection is what saves lives, so please share this information with your loved ones.
Make an appointment with your doctor right away if you are experiencing any breast cancer warning signs.