Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer, which starts in the cells of the breast. It is a common type of cancer in women and a leading cause of cancer deaths. Like any other cancer, prognosis and response to treatment of breast cancer is good if the disease is diagnosed during the initial stages. There are, however, no classic or early symptoms of breast cancer and that make early diagnosis a challenge. [Read: Myths and Facts about Breast Cancer]
Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer
- Breast lump: Lump in the breast is a common symptom of breast cancer. All lumps in the breast, however, are not cancerous, but if you have a lump in the breast, it should be evaluated by a doctor. If you have a lump in the breast, armpit or above the collarbone that persists for more than a few weeks or increases in size, it may be a sign of cancer. Many women discover the lump or an area of lumpiness or irregularity in their breast tissue during self-examination or by chance. Many small lumps that are not detectable by touching may be picked on mammography.
- Skin changes: Some changes that may occur on the skin of the breast in cancer include redness, changes in texture, dimpling or indentation of the skin with the formation of wrinkles and puckering.
- Swelling on 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 some breast cancers, this is due to a blockage in the drainage of fluid from the breast.
- Nipple changes: Nipple may appear retracted (might be pulled in) or the shape may change. Sometimes, an ulcer may develop or the nipple may weep.
- Nipple discharge: It may be blood stained, clear to yellow, green and puss-like. It may be persistent or intermittent.
- Lump under the arm: Some patients may present with a lump under the arm or near the collarbone. These are signs that the cancer has spread beyond the primary site to the lymph glands.
These are some symptoms of breast cancer, but they do not definitely mean you have breast cancer. They can be caused by many other diseases related to the breast. Many breast cancers are diagnosed by breast screening mammography in women who have no symptoms. Studies indicate that about 6 in every 1000 women between 50 to 64 years, who undergo a screening test, will be found to have breast cancer the first time they attend screening. Hence, screening mammograms are recommended for women more than 40 years of age every 1 to 2 years, as age is the strongest risk factor for breast cancer. The older a woman is, the higher is the risk of developing the disease. Screening may be done in women younger than 40 years, who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer. Your doctor can advise you regarding the need to have mammograms and how often you must have them.
Read to know more about Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Source: Expert Content Nov 29, 2011
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