Sadly, in the United States, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. However, many women often don’t know the warning signs associated with cancer, prolonging diagnosis and treatment. When you know the signs and symptoms to look out for, you’ll better your chances at a successful recovery. So to learn more about the breast cancer warning signs, keep reading!
1. Skin Dimpling
Skin dimpling is a common sign of breast cancer. So if the skin around your breasts resembles the texture of an orange peel, you may need to talk with your doctor as soon as possible.
And skin dimpling can also be contributed to fat necrosis. And this is when fatty breast tissue becomes damaged and eventually dies. This can happen when cancer is present and blocks the lymph vessels located in the skin.
Skin dimpling is usually a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. However, this form of cancer is aggressive and rare. Therefore, you want to get checked out by your physician quickly.
Sudden swelling in one or both of your breasts needs to be investigated quickly. This unexpected change in appearance should notify you that something is abnormal. And that’s because this sign is another precursor to inflammatory breast cancer.
And when this cancer is present, it makes the breasts hurt, become red, and swell. This can happen in one or both breasts but needs to be treated swiftly due to this cancer’s rapid progression.
Consult your doctor with any swelling questions.
3. Breast Pain
Breast pain is any discomfort or tenderness you feel in your chestal area. And breast pain isn’t always associated with cancer. For example, it can occur due to menstrual cycles, menopause, or pregnancy.
However, if the pain persists and doesn’t go away, you may need to seek help from a doctor. And if the pain is present with other concerning symptoms, it may be breast cancer.
In this case, a cancerous tumor may be present and causing discomfort. Always check with a self-breast exam first to see if any tumors are present.
4. Nipple Retraction
Nipple retraction occurs when your nipple sinks inward instead of erecting outward. And if this isn’t normal for your body and starts happening out of nowhere, it could be a sign of breast cancer.
Most often, retracted nipples are a symptom of carcinoma. A carcinoma is a form of cancer that starts with the skin cells or tissue. And these abnormal cells are capable of spreading throughout the body.
Once you visit your doctor, they will examine your breasts. Then they will take a biopsy from the nipple or areola for further investigation.
5. Irritated Skin
While irritated skin isn’t usually a cause for concern, it’s important to monitor it just in case. Especially if a rash or itchiness forms around your breasts and does not go away, you’ll need to notify your physician.
And this persistent discomfort can come in the form of a rash, flaky skin, or tender skin. Most likely, if cancerous cells are present, it’ll be a form of inflammatory breast cancer.
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine if this is the cause or not.
6. Swollen Lymph Nodes
You have a system of hundreds of lymph nodes that are located throughout your body. And they play a huge role in your immune system.
So when they become swollen, they are trying to warn you of a compromise in the system. And this could be something as minor as a cold or as serious as cancer. And these indicators are a great way to monitor your body’s health.
And when the lymph nodes in your breasts stay enlarged persistently, contact your doctor so they can do a biopsy and run further tests for investigation.
7. Nipple Discharge
Nipple discharge is usually an early indicator of breast cancer. However, lots of discharge cases are due to benign reasons.
So if you have discharge that comes out on its own and without squeezing, it may be a concern. Keep an eye on the color of the discharge as well. If it is bloody or clear, contact your doctor.
And take note of the location of the discharge. If it comes from one consistent duct, this may be a problem. Your doctor will examine the discharge to determine if it is cancerous.
8. Lump or Mass
It’s always important to do a self-breast exam regularly to ensure everything is normal. And if you ever feel a lump or a mass in your breast, it can be worrisome.
However, not all lumps are cancerous, and many are actually noncancerous. Since lumps vary in size and texture, your doctor will need to examine them.
They will run tests like mammograms and ultrasounds, or conduct a biopsy. Then they will be able to determine the cause of the lump.
9. Changes in Size or Shape
If you notice a difference in size or shape in one of your breasts, monitor this closely. If it stays irregular, contact your doctor for further instruction.
Of course, as previously mentioned, swelling can be a sign of cancer and should be examined.
Additionally, if your breasts take on a different shape than usual, this could be another sign. This could include bulging or lumpiness.
Breast Cancer Warning Signs
Of course, no one wants to endure a cancer diagnosis and all that comes with the recovery process.
And hopefully, these breast cancer warning signs will help educate you and other women on what to keep an eye out for.
So if you have any questions or concerns regarding health, contact us today!