One of the most common types of cancer in women in India is breast cancer. According to the Globocan 2020 data, breast cancer accounts for about 14% of all cancers in females. The best way of overcoming and treating breast cancer fully is early detection. According to studies, one in twenty-nine women in India is likely to develop breast cancer. It is extremely difficult to detect breast cancer in its early stages as every person can have different symptoms. Here are five warning signs of breast cancer that you should look out for.
1. Swollen lymph nodes in underarms or around collarbones
Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic system and they are small structures that are linked throughout the body by the lymphatic vessels. These work as filters for harmful substances in the body and contain immune cells which help in fighting infections and destroying germs.
If you notice swollen lymph nodes in your armpits, under your arms, or around your collarbones, this could be a warning sign of breast cancer. This can happen on either one or both sides of the body. You can look in the mirror and feel around these parts to check for swelling.
2. Partial or complete swelling in breasts
It is completely normal for your breasts to be sore around the time of menstruation. Soreness in breasts also occurs due to hormonal changes or medication like birth control. But if you see abnormal swelling all over your breasts for a prolonged period, it could be a sign of breast cancer. Partial swelling in some parts of your breasts is also something you should look out for.
3. Skin irritation or dimpling
While soreness in breasts from menstruation, hormonal changes or birth control is normal, skin irritation or a burning sensation in your breasts is something you should look out for. When the lymph vessels in the breasts become blocked, the blood flow in the breasts is disrupted, resulting in dimpling. This causes skin irritation and a burning sensation in the breasts.
4. Pain in breasts and nipples
Along with skin irritation or a burning sensation, if one starts feeling pain in the breasts or around the nipple area, they should contact a doctor immediately. Due to the swollen lymph nodes and blocked lymph vessels, the lymphatic system around the breast is unable to work properly causing pain in the breasts and nipples.
5. Nipple retraction
If you notice the skin of and around your nipples retracting inwards, you should contact your doctor. Nipple retraction is a major warning sign of breast cancer.
A retracted nipple is often known as an inverted nipple but if one faces nipple retraction along with the other symptoms mentioned above, it could be a sign of breast cancer.
It is not always easy to detect breast cancer in women, especially in the early stages. This is because most of these signs are usually overlooked. It is imperative that one does regular self-examinations to look out for these signs.