Do you have lumps in breasts? Do you fear that it is cancerous? Are you afraid of the different changes you feel and observe in your boobs? Then you should get yourself informed about cancer to ease your mind, to put unnecessary worries away or to make an immediate action if necessary.
If you want to ensure your health, then you should be able to see the early signs of breast cancer so you can immediately do something about it. Always remember that when it comes to health, early intervention is the best. Let’s examine breast cancer together and look for breast cancer symptoms.
U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics
In the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than any types of cancer besides lung cancer. Also, this is the most commonly diagnosed cancer beside skin cancer. In fact, 30% of newly diagnosed cancers among women will be breast cancer.
According to Breast Cancer, 1 in 8 women (about 12%) in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 252, 710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. along with 63, 410 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Meanwhile, about 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in the same year. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
In addition, 40,610 deaths among women due to cancer are expected in 2017 despite its decreasing death rates since 1989.
For women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Asian, Hispanic and Native-American women’s risk of dying from breast cancer is lower. However, one should note that a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. However, about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
This is due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general. The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
How to Spot First Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Do not wait for the worst to come, always check your breasts for any changes. Actually, if you massage your breasts regularly that will help you find breast lumps and any other signs of cancer immediately.
To keep on the top of your breast health, do these things regularly. This is very easy to do and remember. Just keep TLC in mind.
Touch – Feel your breast by touching it. By doing this you should detect any lump or breast mass. Also, is there any pain when you run your fingers on your breasts?
Look – See your breasts and look for any changes. Is there a new lump that you can see on the surface? Are there any changes in your nipple? Is there any nipple discharge? By just gazing at your boobs, you should see any difference.
Check – If you find anything unusual in your boobs, do not hesitate to communicate with your doctor. Not all changes in your breasts is an indication of cancer, but it’s better to prepare for the worst. Should there be any cancerous tumors, you can do immediate actions and decisions if you work with your doctor.
Let’s discuss the breast cancer signs and symptoms in the next section.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
The use of mammography screening enables most breast cancers to be found at an early stage before any warning signs appear. Since most women do not undergo mammography, here are some warning signs of breast cancer that you should look out for.
One of the most common signs that most attributed to breast cancer is a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area. If you can feel the lump throughout your breasts and it feels like your other breasts, then it is probably normal breast tissues.
When it feels harder or different from the rest of the breast or is not present in your other breast, then you should check it out with a doctor. This can be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition such as cyst or fibroadenoma.
Change in the size or shape of the breast
There could be a lump lurking under the surface even if you can’t see it. This can affect the size and mass of your breasts.
Dimpling or Scaly skin
A rough patch of skin that feels scaly or thicker than your usual starts to dimple maybe a sign of cancer. Some breast cancers channels this from the inside of the breasts so the skin becomes blocked resulting in skin changes that make the breast look like it is covered in an orange peel.
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
Persistent itching and appearance of a rash or small irritation like an insect bite are one of the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), an aggressive and fast-growing cancer. As a result, the breast typically becomes red, swollen and warm.
Another warning sign is nipple discharge that’s not breast milk. In most cases, this is not cancer, but it is important to see a doctor if the discharge comes out without you touching of squeezing the nipple, especially if the discharge is bloody and only affects one breast.
It is also possible that this is caused by an infection or other condition that needs treatment. So, if you are experiencing this, it’s best to see a doctor.
Most breast cancers do not cause pain in the breast, but some do. In most cases, women feel breast pain or discomfort due to her menstrual cycle. This starts weeks or so before her period and typically goes away when the menstruation begins.
Breast pain may also be related to benign breast conditions such as mastitis. However, if the pain is not related to your menstrual cycle, you should check with your doctor.
Some breast cancers cause nipple inversion or retraction, in which the nipple turns inward. This is because a mass is growing inside your breasts and it changes its shape. Seven percent of the women diagnosed with breast cancer reported nipple abnormalities.
What will happen if you see any breast cancer symptoms?
After talking to a general practitioner (GP), you should have a concrete grasp of your condition. More likely, your doctor will recommend that you have a mammogram, an X-ray for your breasts. You may also need an ultrasound scan. For women under age 35, the doctor may only suggest a breast ultrasound scan.
After that, you will need to go through a biopsy. In this procedure, a sample of tissue cells is taken from your breasts to see if it is cancerous. Biopsies can be taken in different ways and this may depend on your condition.
Depending on the diagnosis, if you have cancer, you may need to go through a treatment. The medications may include the following:
- Chemotherapy to shrink the cancer
- Surgery to remove the cancer
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy – this is for IBC that has spread in the body or for IBC containing hormone receptors
Breast cancer death rates among women are high, so you should not underestimate this illness. Always check your breasts from time to time and look for any changes. If you notice a shooting pain in the breast or pain in breast with lump, do not disregard it.
Do you know additional signs to spot breast cancer? Feel free to share it with us.