June 28th, 2012 by Hasham
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Initially, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms. A lump may be too small for you to feel or to cause any unusual changes you can notice on your own. Often, an abnormal area turns up on a screening mammogram (x-ray of the breast), which leads to further testing.
In some cases, however, the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But sometimes cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded. So it’s important to have anything unusual checked by your doctor.
According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
swelling of all or part of the breast
skin irritation or dimpling
nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
a nipple discharge other than breast milk
a lump in the underarm area
These changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous, such as an infection or a cyst. It’s important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor.
Breast lumps in general
The first symptom of breast cancer for many women is a lump in their breast. But many women have breast lumps and 9 out of 10 (90%) are benign. That means they are not cancers. Most benign breast lumps are
Areas of breast cell changes, causing lumpiness that is more obvious just before a period, particularly in women over 35
Cysts – sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common
Fibroadenoma – a collection of fibrous glandular tissue (these are more common in younger women)
What to look out for
Changes that could be due to a breast cancer are
A lump or thickening in an area of the breast
A change in the size or shape of a breast
Dimpling of the skin
A change in the shape of your nipple, particularly if it turns in, sinks into the breast, or has an irregular shape
A blood stained discharge from the nipple
A rash on a nipple or surrounding area
A swelling or lump in your armpit
Like breast lumps, these signs don’t necessarily mean cancer. Inverted nipples, blood stained nipple discharge or a rash can all be due to other medical conditions. But if any of these things happen to you, you should get it checked out. It is most likely to be a benign condition that can easily be treated and seeing the GP will put your mind at rest. But if it does turn out to be a cancer you give yourself the best chance of successful treatment by going to the doctor early on.
A rare type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer can have different symptoms. The whole breast can look red and inflamed and can be very sore. The breast may feel hard. The skin sometimes looks like orange peel because the pores stand out in the inflamed area.
Another rare type of breast cancer shows up as a rash on and around the nipple. It is called Paget’s disease. The red, scaly rash can be itchy. It looks a bit like eczema and is sometimes mistaken for that at first.
Breast pain is very common and is not usually due to cancer. Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender before a period. And some benign breast lumps are painful. Many women get pain in their breasts for a while, which goes after a time. There may be no obvious reason for the pain, even with lots of tests. Most breast pain is not caused by cancer, but some breast cancers do cause pain, so if you are worried, see your GP.
Symptoms & Types
This article is a brief overview of breast cancer symptoms.
Possible Warning Signs of Breast Cancer
Read about the possible warning signs of breast cancer. But don’t jump to conclusions; breast cancer diagnosis must be done by doctors.
Invasive Breast Cancer
Invasive breast cancers have spread beyond the milk ducts and milk-making glands to other breast tissue. This link will take you to a web site that explains invasive breast cancer.
Related Web Site: Paget’s Disease of the Nipple
Read about Paget’s disease of the nipple, a rare form of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Recurrence
Breast cancer recurrence (return) is possible after treatment, and it doesn’t always come back to the breast. This detailed article is all about breast cancer recurrence.
Breast Cancer in Young Women
Breast cancer is generally seen in women after menopause. But it can strike much earlier. Learn about breast cancer in young women.
Breast Cancer in Pregnancy
Breast cancer in pregnancy is very rare. But it can happen. Learn how breast cancer in pregnancy is handled.
Male Breast Cancer
The vast majority of breast cancer patients are women. But every year, about 1,700 U.S. men get breast cancer. This article has the facts on male breast cancer.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer in which the breast appears swollen and inflamed. It doesn’t always involve a lump. Learn more about inflammatory breast cancer.
Treatment Side Effects
Breast cancer treatments are powerful medicine and can have side effects. Read about common breast cancer treatment side effects.
Lymphedema and Breast Cancer
Lymphedema is abnormal fluid build-up, usually in the arms or legs, and it needs prompt treatment. Learn about lymphedema and breast cancer.
Fertility and Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer treatments may affect young women’s ability to bear children. Learn how that issue can be addressed.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
The causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known although a number of risk factors have been identified.
There are many different types of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is diagnosed with physician and self-examination of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (the extent of spread in the body).
According to the American Cancer society:
Over 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed each year.
Nearly 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2011.
There are over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
A woman should have a baseline mammogram between the 35 and 40 years of age. Between 40 and 50 years of age, mammograms are recommended every other year. After 50 years of age, yearly mammograms are recommended.