There is no guarantee that you’ll avoid breast cancer. However, by increasing your awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of the disease, you can be proactive at detecting it in its earliest stages when treatment is more likely to offer a better outcome.
One of the most prevalent symptoms of breast cancer is the presence of a painless lump or mass. Because of this, it is highly important that you become familiar with your breasts. The more in touch you are with your breasts, the more likely you’ll notice something out of the ordinary. Typically, lumps are hard to the touch and uneven along the edges, although in some cases, they are soft and rounded. It’s natural to feel nervous upon finding a lump but try to remember that not all lumps are cancerous. Still, it is always a good idea to have it evaluated by your primary care physician or gynecologist. Finding out as quickly as possible can ease your mind. And if it is cancer, you’ll be that much closer to recovery.
Because there are different breast cancer types, there are several other warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer that are worth paying attention to as well. If you notice one or more of these or anything out of the ordinary, we at Affiliated Oncologists urge you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor.
Below are some additional signs and symptoms that should be evaluated by your physician.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Other common signs and symptoms that could indicate breast cancer include:
- Change in size or shape of the breast
- Breast pain
- Swelling of all or part of the breast (even when there is no lump present)
- A lump in the underarm or collarbone area
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Skin irritation or itchiness
- Skin dimpling (may resemble an orange peel)
- Discharge from nipple, other than breast milk
- Nipple pain or a newly inverted nipple
What Are Considered Normal Breast Changes?
While it is important to understand the red flags to look for regarding breast cancer, it’s equally important to understand what is considered normal. It can be alarming to discover a change in your breasts.
Menstruation, pregnancy, weight change, medications, and aging can all contribute to normal breast changes. Being mindful of your ongoing breast health and being able to recognize what may be normal for your body can help you easily identify any signs of abnormalities.
When to See Your Doctor
The key to having a better outcome is early detection. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you’re having pain at times other than the start of your menstrual cycle, you should consider talking with your gynecologist about a mammogram screening. Mammograms are known to be 87% accurate in detecting breast cancer. If your mammogram does detect a suspicious mass, it’s likely you’ll need further evaluation so a diagnosis can be made— but the sooner you know, the closer you’ll be to treatment if needed.
Feeling a mass or getting a breast cancer diagnosis can be scary. The good news is that there are significant advances in early detection practices, and patient outcomes are getting better. To help you during your breast cancer journey, consider Affiliated Oncologists. We can help you navigate at every stage, from detection and diagnosis to available treatment and reconstruction options. Contact us today to learn more.