Breast cancer, like all other forms of cancer, comprises abnormal cells which tend to grow uncontrollably. When these cells spread to the other parts of the body, the cancer is known to be metastatic.
Breast cancer may affect men as well, but it is more commonly observed in women. It is one of the common cancers found affecting today’s generation.
Early detection and treatment are crucial when it comes to breast cancer. However, when the apprehension of breast cancer in women occupies your mind, it’s necessary to rule out the possibilities to drive away your worries, if it’s not cancer, or commence the treatment, if you happen to suffer from one. So, how would one know whether she needs to be screened for breast cancer? What are the signs which would tell you that you need to see your physician?
Knowing how your breasts normally look or feel is an important part of breast health.
A change in the appearance or feel of the breasts or nipple or the occurrence of any discharge from the nipple may be the initial signs of breast cancer.
So. let us have a look at the warning signs of breast cancer. Here are some signs and symptoms which you should watch out for.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- The presence of the swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of breasts.
- The presence of a lump, hard knot or a thickened area either in the breast or armpit or around the collar bone. This could be the first sign of breast cancer. These lumps are usually painless.
- Skin irritation, dimpling, or puckering of the skin.
- Itchy rash on the nipple.
- Pulling pain in the nipple or the retraction of the nipple
- A sudden discharge from the nipple without being squeezed. Although nipple discharge may also occur in cases of infection, it should be investigated.
- Persistent pain in one spot or area of the breast. Although it is said that the lump may be painless, however, sometimes, there might exist a painful area.
Some women may feel that along with the breast changes, there would be other changes too, such as feeling tired or losing weight, but, that may not be the case. If you have noticed any of the above changes, you need to talk to your doctor, get yourself examined so that the cause can be found.
Many times, these changes may not be due to cancer, but it is necessary to get it checked once you notice the changes.
Do not assume that if you have had a benign lump in the past, a new lump also may be benign. Do get it checked.
If the changes, turn out to be cancerous, it is best to get it diagnosed at an early stage, when the chances of survival are the highest.
So, if you happen to experience any of the above-listed signs and symptoms, consult your doctor and get it checked without any delay.
– Written by Dr Chetali Damania, Associate doctor to Dr Rajesh Shah