The sooner you identify the symptoms, the earlier you can get tested. Regular screening can reduce the risk of fatality.
When there is increased growth of cells in the breast area, it is known as breast cancer, according to Cancer.org. These cells then form tumors that can be life-threatening. Although breast cancer is usually found in women, men can also be diagnosed with it.
The symptoms of breast cancer can vary from person to person. As per WebMD, there are some early signs of cancer that can be easily recognized, for example, a lump in your breast or armpit, pain, unusual discharge from your nipple, and many more.
According to Carol Milgard Breast Center, one in every eight women in the U.S is diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection of cancer can help in better chances of survival as there are more chances of treatment. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there was a drop by 40 percent in deaths from breast cancer from 1989 to 2017, as per Healthline. So, it is important to recognize the early signs of breast cancer that are listed below as it can reduce the risk of fatality of the disease.
1. A lump in your breast or underarm is usually the first symptom of breast cancer. You should pay a visit to the doctor in case you feel there's a change in the texture of the breast, if the lump feels harder than the other areas of the breast, or if the lump is present only on one breast, according to Medical News Today. It should be noted that cancerous lumps usually have uneven edges, they are hard and can be painless.
2. Swelling in collarbones and armpits should not be ignored as it could be a sign of swelling in the lymph nodes which is a warning for breast cancer, according to Crozer Health. Dr. Archit A. Naik, a surgical oncologist says, "Lymph node enlargement occurs before there is a palpable breast lump. If you do feel a lump in your armpit or above your clavicle, you should call your doctor as soon as possible because this could be a sign of more advanced cancer.”
3. Dr. Naik says that pain and tenderness in the breasts can be due to hormonal fluctuations in the body but he adds that if it continues for more than two weeks then it's best to get it checked. However, according to Healthline, it could also be due to large breasts or a bra that doesn't fit, and stress. Either way, it's best to consult the doctor. “An achy feeling in your breast or armpit often leads to a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound which, in turn, may diagnose early breast cancer,” says Dr. Naik.
4. The flattening or indenting of the breast area, known as the dimpling of the breast tissue, is also a sign of inflammatory breast cancer that could be caused due to a tumor that you can’t see or feel. According to Medical News Today, the skin around the breast looks pitting or uneven like that of an orange.
It usually occurs only in one breast and can lead to changes in the color of the skin around the breast too. While the skin becomes inflamed and red, the nipple, or areola might appear to be swollen, red, and scaly.
5. Swelling in the breast is another sign of cancer. According to Medicine.net, the infection in the breast tissue or fluid buildup can lead to swelling of the breast. In the case of inflammatory breast cancer (inflammatory breast carcinoma), a type of cancer that spreads to the lymphatic system can lead to pain or tenderness, and redness of the breast.
6. Sometimes some changes can be seen in the nipples too. When the nipple turns inwards, also known as nipple inversion, it is a sign of growing cancer. According to Breast Cancer News, inflammation, or scarring of the tissue behind the nipple can lead to nipple inversion. Although there are many other reasons why this can happen, in the case of cancer, this happens when the duct behind the nipple is attacked by the tumor, pulling it in.
7. An itchy breast can also be a sign of Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) which is the more aggressive and faster spreading breast cancer. This cancer can lead to people feeling that one breast is heavier than the other. It also makes the breast painful, itchy, and tender. One-third of the breast can turn red or purple, according to Healthline.
8. Unusual nipple discharge without squeezing the nipple is a sign of breast cancer too. According to Medical News Today, if clear, bloody, or a weird color of discharge is observed from the nipple one should immediately consult a doctor.
According to the American Cancer Society, early detection of the signs can help in better treatment. Regular mammograms can also prevent the risk.