Breast cancer is a disease that mostly affects women and causes a lot of fear as there is no known cure for cancer. In most cancer cases, early detection is key to accurate treatment. When the cancer detection is done early, chances of survival are quite high as then, the cancer cells have not metastasized. It is thus good to note the warning signs of breast cancer so as to get the right kind of care.
Breast cancer in most cases has been touted to start with a small lump in the breast. Does that mean that every small lump that occurs in breast tissue is cancerous? This is not always the case. There are times when a lump in breast tissue may be caused by a myriad of other factors other than breast cancer. In case a lump or pain is felt in the breast, common cases can be as a result of menstruation hormones fluctuating in the body, use of birth control pills, infertility pills, breast cysts, and a bra that does not wit well to large breasts. It is however advisable to have any breast pain checked out by a doctor. Fat tissue in the breast or even fluctuations in the breast may cause a benign non-cancerous lump in the breast. This is seen in about 90% of all cases.
Though some lumps in the breast are benign, the most common breast cancer sign is a lump which is painless lump in the breast. Other common signs include changing shape of breast nipple, pain in the breast that does not seem to go away after the menstrual cycle, a clear discharge from the nipples, unexplained reddening or irritation of the skin, itchiness and rash of the breast. Other breast cancer signs include a new lump in the breast that does not go away after the menstrual periods, a swelling around the collarbone and a lump in the breast that has irregular edges.
As the condition’s severity increases, some other breast cancer signs are manifested. These include a retraction of the nipple or the nipple turning inwards, breast enlargement in one breast, growth of the existing lump, dimpling of breast surface where one gets the feeling of an orange peel with regards to breast texture. Vaginal pain is also a common breast cancer pain, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes as well as visible veins on the breast. IT is important to note that in most cases of breast cancer, multiple signs are noted and not a single sign alone.
Breast cancer has of late been shown to also occur in men and not specific to women as was previously thought. Though a rare condition, it can occur in men at any age. The reason why this form of cancer is not common in men is because their breast tissue is not as pronounced as it is in women. Most of the mentioned breast cancer signs will be noted in men as well. The most common breast cancer sign in men is a lump in the breast tissue which is accompanied with a discharge from the nipple, redness and even scaling of the nipple, itchiness and the nipple turning inwards. As breast cancer symptoms are not regularly checked in men, this form of cancer is in most cases diagnosed when it is in the later stages, making treatment quite challenging.
Any breast pain that cannot be clearly explained should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. The reason to this is because one might be dealing with a breast cancer sign and the earlier it is noted, the better the treatment options and outlook are.
For a confirmation of the breast cancer sign that may be causing worry to you, a doctor has to start with a physical examination. This looks at a lump in the breast, skin tissue and texture, nipple problems and discharge. They might also review one’s medical history as well as that of immediate family members as breast cancer has been shown to commonly occur through family lines.
Confirmation requires them to carry out a mammogram which is an x-ray which distinguishes breast tissue and cancerous tissue. An ultrasound or x-ray may also be used. MRI may also be preferred and for absolute positivity of the tissue, a biopsy is recommended. Even when cancer is confirmed from a breast cancer sign, it is important to understand that there are various treatment options that can help one lead a normal life and improve chances of survival.