Understanding Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms: Your Guide to Early Detection

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Pune, 27 Sept 2023: Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is a vital aspect of your breast health. While regular screening tests for breast cancer are essential, it’s equally important for you to be aware of what’s normal for your breasts. This awareness empowers you to recognize any changes promptly, potentially leading to early detection and better outcomes.

Common Breast Cancer Symptom: New Lump or Mass

The most prevalent symptom of breast cancer is the discovery of a new lump or mass. It’s important to note that most breast lumps are not cancerous. However, a painless, hard mass with irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous. It’s worth mentioning that breast cancers can also manifest as soft, round, tender, or even painful lumps.

Other Possible Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

1. Swelling of the Breast: In some cases, all or part of the breast may swell, even if there’s no noticeable lump.

2. Skin Changes: Watch out for skin dimpling, which can sometimes resemble the texture of an orange peel.

3. Breast or Nipple Pain: While less common, breast or nipple pain can be a symptom of breast cancer.

4. Nipple Changes: This includes nipple retraction or inversion, where the nipple turns inward.

5. Skin Abnormalities: Be attentive to changes in nipple or breast skin, such as redness, dryness, flaking, or thickening.

6. Nipple Discharge: If you notice any nipple discharge other than breast milk, it should be evaluated.

7. Swollen Lymph Nodes: Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone can sometimes indicate the spread of breast cancer, even before the primary tumor becomes palpable.

Many of these symptoms can also result from benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to have any new breast mass, lump, or change examined by an experienced healthcare professional. This evaluation is necessary to determine the cause and take appropriate action, if needed.

Early Detection Through Regular Screening

Remember that recognizing breast cancer symptoms should complement, not replace, regular breast cancer screening. Screening mammography is a powerful tool that can often detect breast cancer at an early stage, often before any symptoms manifest. Detecting breast cancer early significantly enhances the chances of successful treatment.