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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Are The Symptoms of Breast Cancer?


Lifestyle Improvement

Posted On: Oct 15, 2015

breast cancer awareness month symptoms

As you may already know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while October boasts more pink ribbons and Walks for the Cure than most months, breast cancer is a very serious issue that requires attention year round. Breast cancer is the most deadly form of cancer for women. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Researchers expect to diagnose over 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in 2015. And though deaths due to breast cancer have been declining over the past 25 years, over 40,000 U.S. women are expected to die in 2015 from the disease.

                With all of these statistics in mind, it’s important to remember that early detection is the single most important factor in beating breast cancer. One way to detect breast cancer in its early stages is to perform a monthly breast exam. This type of exam will help you identify any changes in your breast that you can then bring up with a doctor. While many people with breast cancer will only detect one or two symptoms at first, it’s important to note that not every person who finds these symptoms will ultimately be diagnosed with breast cancer. However, anytime something unusual is found, it’s of the utmost importance to schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional to decide on the best path forward.

                One of the first signs of breast cancer can be a lump in the breast or underarm area that doesn’t subside after a menstrual cycle. Most often these types of lumps will be painless, but they can sometimes have a prickly sensation. If you feel a lump in your breast, it’s necessary to have a healthcare professional check it out. But it should be noted that not all lumps in the breast are cancerous. Another thing to keep an eye on is a change in the skin texture or an enlargement of the pores in the skin of the breast. A tenderness in the nipple can also be something to watch out for.

                Be mindful of a change in the breast or nipple appearance, as well. Dimpling on the breast or any other kind of swelling that cannot be accounted for is something to note. On the other hand, an unusual shrinkage of the breast is also important to pay attention to. Swelling or shrinkage is especially suspicious if it is only occurring on one side. The nipples themselves can also exhibit symptoms. Symptoms apparent concerning the nipples include those that are inverted or turned slightly inward; scaly, red, or swollen nipples; and nipples that develop pitting, resembling the dimples on an orange skin.

                By looking for these symptoms during a routine monthly breast exam, you’re much more likely to discover abnormalities to discuss with your doctor early on. Keep in mind that a mammogram can find lumps that are too small to detect with a home exam, so talk to your doctor to see if routine mammograms are right for you.