The earlier the diagnosis, the better a woman’s chances of beating breast cancer; all of us are aware of this fact and yet most of us don’t take the necessary steps to screen for breast cancer on a regular basis. While a small portion of women do inherit a genetic predisposition to it, over 90% of breast cancer cases have no connection between family history and higher risk. So never dismiss breast cancer as something that will not affect you simply because no one in your family has had it. The only way to beat breast cancer is to diagnose it as early as possible. In order to do that you need to be aware of the symptoms to watch out for.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Occurrence of Lumps
The first symptom to be on the lookout for is any abnormal lumps in or around your breasts. Your breasts are naturally a little lumpy and that is nothing to be scared of. But if you ever notice any changes in your breast tissue, any abnormal (and painful) lump or growth in your breast, arm pit or collar bone region, then it is time to see your doctor immediately. It might be just be a benign growth, but you’ll not know for sure till you check with your doctor.
Changes in the Appearance of Your Nipples
Any changes in the appearance of your nipples are a cause for concern. If your normally perky nipples seem to be turning inwards or if your nipples pain when touched, then you need to get it checked. Any change in how your nipples look or feel should be addressed at the earliest.
If either of your nipples seems to be letting out a white or colourless discharge, it is time to pay a visit to your doctor. There could be several reasons and remedies for breast discharge. But it’s better to consult your gynecologist before taking self help.
Abrasions on the Nipples or the Breasts
Any sudden rash or flaky skin or other such skin abrasions on or around your breasts and nipples need to be checked by a doctor. It could be a sign of breast cancer and so should not be ignored.
Texture and Colour of the Skin on the Breast Region
If there is any discolouration or change in the skin texture—dimpling of the skin, bumps or rough skin—you might want to get it checked. While it could be nothing more than a mild skin irritation or a result of weight gain/weight loss, it is always better to get it sorted out for your peace of mind.
So, those were the early symptoms of breast cancer.
Breast Self Examination
Now that you know the signs to watch out for, you need to do a thorough breast self examination on a regular basis.
You can check for lumps while you’re in the shower. Massage your breasts, arm pits and collar bone region to see if you feel any abnormal lumps.
Once you get out of the shower, look at your breasts in the mirror to see if there is any skin discolouration or changes in the appearance of your nipple.
And of course, spot any breast discharge and be aware of any changes in your breasts and nipples, like painful or extra sensitive breasts or nipples or a sudden lack of sensitivity.
The only way you can diagnose and beat breast cancer at an early stage is by being intimately aware of your breasts. There is nothing taboo about a breast examination. Never hesitate to approach your doctor with any symptoms of breast cancer no matter how insignificant you might deem them. Let us empower ourselves by being aware and informed about breast cancer and how to spot and fight it. Spread the message to your near and dear ones, who knows, you might just help save a life.