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Signs of breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – 1 in 8 women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Most commonly breast cancer diagnosed in women but sometimes it also could appear in men. In both cases signs of breast cancer are very important to know.

Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast – it occurs when the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts grow abnormally and out of control. The tumor can form in the ducts or lobules of the breast. When cancerous cells are still confined to the ducts or lobules of the breast, it is called pre-invasive breast cancer – best time for effective treatment. Unfortunately during this period signs of breast cancer are almost not visible and only regular mammography can discover very early stages of breast cancer.

Most cases of breast cancers are found when they are invasive – it means cancerous cells have spread outside the ducts or lobules of the breast into surrounding tissue. Most signs of breast cancer are recognized during invasive period.

Early breast cancer diagnosis can insure effective modern treatment.

Signs of breast cancer are well known and described by many experts but many women don’t pay enough attention to visible 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 signs of breast cancer.

Signs of breast cancer – lump

Signs of breast cancer

Breast lump can be considered as the most important among all signs of breast cancer. 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.

In many cases (about 90%) breast lump is 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 (especially if it doesn’t disappear after regular menstrual period).

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.

Signs of breast cancer – nipple

Inverted nipple is a very common typical symptom of breast cancer. 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.

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.

Nipple shape also can be changed. 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.

Rash on and around the nipple can be the indicator of another rare type of breast cancer. 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.

Signs of breast cancer – pain

Breast pain is very common and rarely 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 one of breast cancer symptoms.

Signs of breast cancer – 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.

Signs of breast cancer – shape changes

The change in the size, shape or contour of the breast also could be the sign of breast cancer. Special attention should be paid to sudden change in the size of one breast (even swelling) especially if it is not disappearing after your regular period.

Signs of breast cancer – redness

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.

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.


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