Breast cancer is cancer that affects the mammary glands or breasts. It occurs when the breast cells start multiplying uncontrollably. It is one of t the most common forms of invasive cancer and the second leading cause of death in women. The risk for breast cancer increases as they get older. Late menopause, after the age of 55, also increases the risk rate.
Millions of women suffer from this disease. In the US alone, every 1 out of 8 women is expected to develop breast cancer once in her lifetime. Do you know that men can be affected by this type of cancer as well? However, it is not that common as they lack the breast’s lobular structure as in women.
Early detection of any disease can improve the prognosis. Therefore it is essential to know the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. One of the earliest and common signs of breast cancer is the formation of unusual lumps in the breast, in the armpit, or under the collar bone. Unlike the lumps formed due to hormonal fluctuations, these do not go away. The breasts are composed of several lymph nodes. When any of these nodes become swollen or develops a bulge, it is termed as a lump.
The decrease or increase in the size of one breast as compared to the other can also indicate breast cancer. The abnormal growth of cancer cells makes the breast tissue grow and enlarge. Additionally, the swelling due to damage by cancerous cells can make your breast appear bigger and swollen. If you notice unusually big or swollen breasts, it indicates a problem. Thickening of any area of the breast and change in its texture can also indicate cancer.
Consider watching this video to know more about what is breast cancer…
Dimpling of the breast or shrinking of the areola is also an early sign of breast cancer. In most cases, dimpling is the indication of a malignant type of cancer. The areolas and nipples naturally point outwards. In breast cancer, abnormal production of cells and changes in its structure may cause shrinking of the areola and inversion of the nipple. The scarring under the nipple area may also result in inverted nipples.
Nipple pain is another common symptom. A blockage in the ducts can cause this pain. If you have swollen lymph nodes, they may cause breast pain as well. Your breasts may be tender to touch as well. Additionally, any change in the temperature and color of any breast area also indicates a problem. There shouldn’t be any unusual watery, milky or bloody discharge either.
Health experts often advise women to perform a breast examination themselves every month. This self-exam can help observe any changes in the breast that may be dangerous. Self-assessment usually involves using the pads of your fingers to assess the breasts for any lumps, pain, or swelling. However, hormonal fluctuations may also cause lumpy or tender breasts. Therefore, examinations should be performed a few days after your periods are over.
If you notice any symptoms, consult your doctor. Some simple lifestyle modifications like a balanced diet, exercise, and quitting smoking can also reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!