Breast Cancer: When should one seek medical advice?

By  , Expert Content
Nov 29, 2011

Breast cancer grows slowly over months or years. Many women develop symptoms gradually and may be ignored initially. When the symptoms become bothersome, they may seek medical advice. By the time they seek medical advice, the cancer may have progressed beyond the primary site. Like any other cancer, responses to treatment and prognosis are better when the cancer is treated in early stages. Consult your health-care provider if you experience any of the following warning signs of breast cancer:

Breast lump:
A lump in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer, but not all lumps are cancerous. Many lumps in the breast are benign such as fibro adenomas, fibrocystic disease of the breast. I To be on the safe side, f you develop any lump or irregularity in the breast, consult your doctor to diagnose the cause and treat it accordingly.

Lump in your armpit or above your collarbone:
If you have a lump in the armpit or above the collarbone that persists for more than a few weeks or increases in size, it may be a sign of cancer. If you notice any lump in the armpit or above the collarbone, seek immediate medical advice.

Nipple discharge:
Nipple discharge of any type such as blood stained, clear to yellow, green or puss-like whether intermittent or persistent should not be ignored or taken lightly.

Nipple inversion: Any change in the shape of the nipple such as inversion of nipple or retraction (pulled in nipple), should prompt consultation with a health professional.
Skin changes over the breast: If you have any changes in skin over breast such as redness, changes in texture, dimpling or indentation of the skin with the formation of wrinkles and puckering, they may be caused by cancer. Moreover, skin changes, changes in how the breast or nipple looks, or change in the size or shape of the breast, calls for consultation with a health professional.

Redness or swelling in the breast:
The breast may become red and swollen and the texture of the skin may change and become like the skin of an orange in the case of breast cancer or infection. Consult a doctor as soon as possible because infection as such should be treated promptly.

These are some warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Presence of these symptoms does not mean you have breast cancer. Many other diseases of breast can cause them. Diagnosis of the underlying cause can help in correcting them through treatment.



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