Breast cancer first signs are well known. But sometimes women notice breast cancer symptoms without paying special attention to it. Why? Because most women don’t think they could have breast cancer (especially if they are healthy in general). But unfortunately there are several breast cancer risk factors which can trigger development of cancerous cells even in healthy women. It should be also mention that in most cases early stages of breast cancer have no visible symptoms. Widespread use of screening mammograms has increased the number of breast cancer cases found before they cause any symptoms.
Earlier you detect breast cancer, higher would be the survival chances. Thanks to modern medicine, timely detection and in-time treatments can insure high survival rates up to 95-98%. This is why every woman should know breast cancer first signs.
Lump in the breast or armpit
Breast lump can be considered as the most important among all breast cancer first signs. It is the most common symptom of breast cancer – suddenly appeared lump or mass. It could be painless or painful, tender or hard, more often with irregular edges. Breast cancer lump doesn’t go away after your next period. Sometimes it could be just thickening in small area of the breast.
It should be mention that most often (about 90%) breast lumps are not cancerous (especially in early 20s to early 50s – periods of hormonal changes). But hard lump with irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous.
Sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or sometimes only swelling – it could happen even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.
During breast cancer many women notice changes in the area of one breast nipple – changes in the shape of the nipple, nipple retraction (inverted nipple, turning inward) or strange look of nipple. When breast cancer cells grow, they can pull the attached skin in forcing nipple inversion. Before it happen, some women fill rash on the nipple.
Special attention should be paid to change in the shape of one side nipple, particularly if it turns in, sinks into the breast or has unusual irregular shape.
Breast pain is very common and pretty rare connected to breast cancer. There are several reasons why women could have breast pain including hormonal fluctuations or disturbances, birth control pills, infertility treatments, stress or wrong bra. However sharp breast pain which doesn’t go away after regular period combined with some tenderness or newly appeared lump can be scary and need special attention as it could be the first signal of breast cancer.
Breast skin changes
Women should pay special attention to the appearance of breast skin – change in the skin texture, measly dimpling, puckering, scaly, thickening or irritated.
The most known breast cancer signal is breast skin change into so called “orange peel” – skin looks like orange peel because the pores stand out in the inflamed area.
Breast shape changes
The change in the size, shape or contour of the breast also could be the signal of breast cancer. Special attention should be paid to sudden change in the size of one breast (even swelling) which is not disappearing after your regular period.
Nipple discharge from one breast that is clear, red, brown or yellow can be considered as a possible sign of breast cancer. Sometimes it can be combined with rash on a nipple or surrounding area.
Redness of breast or nipple
During some types of breast cancer the whole breast can look red and inflamed and can be very sore. “Damaged” breast may feel hard. This rare type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. If you noted unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness or rash on the breast, better to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Another rare type of breast cancer shows up as a rash on and around the nipple. It is called Paget’s disease. The red, scaly rash can be itchy. It looks a bit like eczema and is sometimes mistaken for that at first.
In all cases if you see your one breast looks different or some area on your breast clearly looks different, you better have medical consultation or mammography.
Breast cancer first signs
Some experts consider the following symptoms as a definite signs of breast cancer:
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.