For decades, the medical community has managed to raise a lot of awareness about breast cancer symptoms and stages. However, centers for disease control, managing authorities, and activists promoting campaigns specific to breast cancer education are yet to find a solution to the growing number of incidences. It is widely accepted that educating women about the importance of examining their breasts and looking for signs and symptoms of the disease can help in controlling the menace.
As of today, many women assume that no lump means no cancer. However, that’s a dangerous conclusion to make as there are many other symptoms besides a lump. It is for this reason that women need to play a proactive role in understanding all breast cancer symptoms, getting themselves screened for early detection of breast cancer and make amends in their lifestyle to ensure prevention. Knowing the symptoms is nonetheless the first step in defeating breast cancer. Here we have 5 signs and symptoms that you could look out for.
1.Changes To The Nipple
While changes in the color, size of discharge of your nipple may indicate a serious problem, it is important to understand that all changes may not be due to Breast Cancer development, some are in response to change in temperature, hormonal rush, pregnancy or in response to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Even age can be a factor for perfectly normal changes to the nipples.
But when the changes are sudden and unexplained or worsen progressively, it may be the sign of Breast Cancer and you MUST address the changes ASAP.
For example, if your nipples have always been inverted then that’s just how they’re shaped but if that’s not the case and you notice a change then you need to get on the phone to your doctor pronto! In many cases, inverted nipples are a sign of cancer.
Some common nipple changes to look out for include itchy and cracked nipples, a rash or decrease in sensitivity and inflamed scaly or peeling skin. If you experience any of these changes, it would be sensible to get it examined in order to rule out cancer.
Is there anything more startling than watching your breasts turn into a liquid fountain even when you haven’t even reproduced yet? While it’s normal to have some leakage during your pregnancy and after your baby, discharge at ANY other time needs to be assessed by a doctor.
It’s also important to look out for any blood stains on your bra or shirt, as bleeding from the nipple is another symptom for breast cancer and requires attention. Random discharge, especially if it’s red or green or has an odor, could indicate a problem, including cancer.
If it’s that time of the month and your breasts are being a pain and all you want to do is eat chocolate, then it is understandable. We’ve all been there! But, did you know that prolonged painful and swollen breasts can also be linked to breast cancer?
The placement and size of the tumor are responsible for causing pain and swelling as well as being the cause for the change in the size or shape of your breast. Whilst the majority of women who reported having breast pain do not have cancer, if you’re not breastfeeding and if the pain and swelling is not linked to your menstrual cycle and if it makes a sudden appearance, give your doctor a call because the situation needs to be addressed just to stay on the safe side.
4.Swelling Under The Armpit
In many cases, patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes don’t experience any symptoms related to the breast at all. (Wait. What? Is the Even Possible)
Often patients come in because they feel something under their arm, not because they felt a lump in the breast. This basically means that cancer from the breast has made its way to the lymph nodes causing a lymph node evasion. Lymph node evasion implying that the tumor has reached the lymph nodes. If the cancer is a little more advanced, the affected nodes may also include those at the lower part of the neck.
So when examining your breast consider the areas under your arm as well as the lower part of your neck.
Changes That Aren’t Related To Your Breasts At All
According to the NCRI (The National Cancer Research Institute) study, back pain, neck pain and unexplained weight loss are symptoms that women often come in with in order to seek medical care and ultimately they get diagnosed with breast cancer. Reason being, breast cancer can spread before it’s caught, which cause symptoms in your body parts that aren’t related to the breasts.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to identify every single sign of breast cancer, so when it comes to early detection, you are your own hero. Follow your gut. Any persistent, noticeable change should be examined by a doctor.
Remember, an early diagnosis can always help start treatment early and of course save you from the worst cancer brings.
Kickstart your Breast Cancer education today, stay strong and always stay ahead of your disease by being aware!