What are the early signs of breast cancer?
Early cases of breast cancer normally do not have any symptoms. This is why it is important for women to undergo regular breast exams to detect breast cancer as early as possible.
If breast cancer has progressed, it could cause the following symptoms:
- A hard or uneven breast lump that normally does not hurt.
- Changes in the size, shape, or texture of the breast or nipple. Examples include dimpling, redness, or puckering in the skin.
- Fluid leaking from the nipple. Fluid may be clear, yellow, green, or bloody.
Symptoms for breast cancer in men may include breast pain, tenderness, and breast lumps.
If a tumor has already begun to develop, it could cause obvious changes in the appearance and texture of the breast. A breast may become noticeably flattened or indented, which could indicate a tumor that is difficult to feel or see with the naked eye.
A breast could change in temperature, texture, contour, or size to indicate the development of advanced breast cancer. If a breast becomes reddish or puckered like the surface of an orange, it is important to see a doctor immediately.
Self-exams are vital
Women who undergo regular breast self-exams at home may detect a small lump, which could cause alarm. Any lumps detected in the breast or other visible changes indicate that a woman should see her doctor right away. The good news is that four out of five breast lumps are normally benign, meaning that they are not cancerous. Still, it is important to take any change in your breasts seriously and see a doctor right away.
Women should also consult their doctor if a nipple suddenly turns inward or releases bloody discharge.
In cases of advanced breast cancer, it could cause symptoms like:
- Bone pain
- Breast discomfort or pain
- Skin ulcers
- Swelling in one arm
- Sudden weight loss
Women should see their doctor immediately for any of the above symptoms that persist. In many cases, the symptoms will not be related to breast cancer. Other health issues could cause the symptoms above, but it is still important to check with a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment.
Other symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored
- If one or both breasts develop persistent pain or an abnormal lump. If either or both breasts look or feel abnormal, this could be a result of breast cancer or another medical issue.
- If swollen lymph glands develop in the armpits. Any type of swelling in the underarms could be associated with cancer.
Breast tissue should normally feel firm with a rope-like texture. The fat tissue surrounding the breast should be soft. Although breasts normally become tender and lumpy around the menstrual cycle and can change with age, any obvious changes in breast shape, appearance or texture should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
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Source: "Breast cancer - PubMed Health."National Center for Biotechnology Information.
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