Breast cancer is a cancer that affects breast tissue. According to statistics, it occurs in every tenth woman. Not surprisingly, breast cancer comprises 16% of cancers in women. It means that there are 1 250 000 new cases each year.
Breast thickening can appear and vanish, cause discomfort, especially at childbearing age, and go away after menopause, but it can be extremely dangerous as well.
The age factor also plays a role in the development of breast cancer. The risk increases significantly after 40 years, but before that each woman should be careful. Unfortunately, today more often women in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with this disease.
In case there are any symptoms, you should seek for professional help with no delay. The first symptoms of breast cancer are quite typical, they are easy to recognize if you know what to look for.
The common symptoms of breast cancer
Neoplasms (abnormal formations)
The formation of tumors or nodules in the breast tissue becomes one of the first signs that any woman can notice. According to statistics, about 70-80% of patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, paid attention to it. These signs made them go to the doctor. Of course, it is more likely that women discover a benign tumor, but the cases of self-diagnosis make this methodology true.
One of the nipples has a discharge
If a woman is not pregnant or does not breastfeed, any discharge of fluid from the nipple should not stay unnoticed and you should consult the doctor as soon as possible. After all, this is one of the major symptoms of breast cancer. Discharge may be clear, whitish, bloody, yellowish, with pus and so on. Everything depends on the course of the disease.
Violation of skin integrity
In some cases, there are small sores on the breast skin and there is no improvement for a long period of time. Later on they can become ulcers that tend to spread. They can affect the nipple, areola and the breast skin as well.
Change in appearance and shape of the breast
In later stages, it can be noticed that the appearance o? the affected breast is changed. One can notice that the skin color of the affected area is changed in comparison with the healthy breast. Another symptom is that texture of the skin is changed as well. It may be dimpling. You also need to pay attention to the change in shape of the nipple and areola. In general, a symptom of breast cancer can be any change of shape, color or structure of the breast.
Heightened lymph nodes
In stage II the cancer cells penetrate into regional lymph nodes. This can be shown up by increasing and certain pain intensity. Therefore, if the axillary nodes on one side of the body are increased or cause discomfort you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Swellings in the armpit can become another manifestation.
Other signs of breast cancer
As a tumor develops and cancer cells spread, thus other symptoms can appear. They can be local and systemic. The former symptoms include pain, discomfort in the affected breast, change in sensitivity of breasts and nipples, inflammation and so on.
Systemic symptoms often resemble common cancer symptoms: fever, weakness, fatigue, poor appetite and so on.
Secondary symptoms may appear as well, they depend on where metastases penetrate.
Doctors recommend all women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer should self-examine regularly and visit the doctor every year. Self-exams should be carried out in 6-12 days after the menstrual cycle, or just the same day of every month. It is performed in several stages:
- In front of the mirror both breasts should be carefully examined. It is necessary to pay attention to the skin and nipple color and their structures.
- Raise your arms and look for the same changes.
- Look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
- Examine the axillary lymph nodes.
If you notice some signs you should see the doctor in order to take examination. It is possible that a benign tumor will be found out. But when it is breast cancer, thanks to early diagnosis the necessary treatment can be started.