Breast cancer is the second most-common cancer diagnosed in American women, and 1.3 million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Luckily, continued research and education are helping to treat patients and cut back on the number of new breast-cancer diagnoses. Early detection helps save lives, and that is why it is crucial to do monthly self-breast exams as well as have regular mammograms.
Many women often wonder if there are any signs that might suggest they have breast cancer, but the truth is that illness and other obvious physical symptoms often don’t arise until the cancer has spread and intensified. However, there are some common symptoms to be aware of.
Check for lumps. One of the clearest and most obvious signs of breast cancer is a lump. You might discover or identify it on your own while doing a breast exam or your doctor might notice it during your visit.
Be aware of thickening. Another sign of breast cancer could be a thickening in a particular area of your breast. It might feel different or odd to the touch, just a little “off.” Don’t assume that it is all in your head, and instead make a doctor appointment right away to check it out. You are your own best health advocate, and if something is giving you anxiety or concern, you shouldn’t sweep it under the rug. There is no reason to lose sleep at night and certainly no reason to risk your health.
Notice dimpling or indentations. Breast cancer might also cause a dimple or a little indentation in your breast. Again, you should definitely make a doctor appointment to check it out, especially if this dimple is something you have never seen before. Visible and palpable signs such as these underscore why it is so important to do breast exams as well as to look in the mirror often. If you don’t do regular exams and aren’t familiar with your breasts, you won’t know whether something has always been there or if it is new and a cause for concern.
Change in nipples. There might be other signs that could indicate you have breast cancer, including a change in the nipple. A nipple may turn inward or become red or painful, and there might be discharge coming from the nipple itself. Breast pain can also sometimes occur as a result of breast cancer.
The bottom line is that if you notice any change in the way your breasts look or feel, then it could be cause for concern and you should definitely go to see your doctor right away.
Even if you do not have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor on a regular basis for mammograms and be diligent about performing your own monthly breast exams. Early detection is crucial when it comes to treating cancer, so make sure to make your health a priority. Speak up, ask questions, and be your own health advocate!