Breast cancer casts a shadow over the lives of countless people across the globe, affecting those with the disease and their loved ones. The National Breast Cancer Foundation paints a heartrending picture, forecasting that nearly 289,000 women and 2,800 men will confront the devastating diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in 2023.
Diagnosing breast cancer early, before it spreads, greatly amplifies a person’s chances of successful treatments. Early warning signs are crucial in offering a pivotal advantage in early detection and treatment. Continue reading to explore some of the most common warning signs of breast cancer you shouldn’t overlook.
1. Lumps in the Breast or Underarm
According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most common signs of breast cancer is a new lump in the breast or underarms, including any lump, knot, or hardening of the breast tissue. Lumps are often painless, and not all are cancerous, but they should be reported to a doctor immediately. Regular self-exams can aid in early detection.
2. Change in Breast Size, Shape, or Appearance
The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that a change in the size or shape of the breast could indicate breast cancer, including swelling, thickening, shrinkage, or asymmetry, particularly if it affects only one breast.
3. Nipple Changes
Check for any nipple changes, including turning inward, leaking fluid, or scaling or flaking on the nipple or areola, which could be signs of breast cancer.
In addition, nipple inversion or retraction can be a sign of breast cancer. Still, it’s essential to understand that not all cases of nipple inversion or retraction indicate cancer. Some people may naturally have inverted nipples, which can become inverted due to other benign conditions. However, certain types of breast cancer can cause the nipple to retract or invert.
4. Unexplained Breast or Nipple Pain
While pain in the breast is commonly associated with menstrual cycles, persistent pain that doesn’t align with the menstrual cycle can be cause for concern.