Breast cancer can be a very scary thought, but unfortunately, it is a valid concern for many women. Although breast cancer is usually fairly treatable through a wide variety of options, it is important to catch the disease early in order to have the greatest chance at battling it successfully. Give yourself a little peace of mind by performing a monthly breast self-exam and staying on the lookout for some of the most common warning signs of breast cancer. Read on to learn just what those warning signs are, and what they might mean for you.
Lumps and Knots
Lumps, knots, bumps, or thicker skin anywhere on the breast are easily the most common indication of breast cancer. This can occur on the inside or outside of the breast, near the nipple or further away, and might also appear in the underarm area. Sometimes, these bumps are simply benign calcium deposits, but you will want to get it checked out if you notice something like this on your body.
Of course, if any part of your body is in constant pain, this is usually a good indication that there is something wrong. If you suddenly begin to notice any pain in your breast that is focused on one location and does not go away, this is a good time to visit your doctor and get checked out for breast cancer. Sometimes, this kind of pain can indicate injury like a pulled muscle, but it is always important to find out for sure.
Changes in Size or Shape
If you suddenly notice that one of your breasts has gotten much larger than it used to be, disproportionately to your other breast, this may mean that you have a tumor growing below the skin. The same is true of a breast that takes on a strange shape and no longer looks like it used to. Although breasts often do change shape and size as women age, as well as during pregnancy, changes in a single breast while the other remains the same are strong warning signs of cancer.
Rashes and Discharge
Cancerous tumors near the nipple can cause itchy rashes or scaly skin on the nipple itself. If one of your nipples begins to have a discharge, this can also be indicative of breast cancer. Sometimes, nipples develop rashes and discharge from other illness, so be sure to have these symptoms checked out as soon as possible.
If you notice something that seems amiss during your monthly breast self-check, be sure to bring it up with your doctor as quickly as possible. It is also important for women over the age of forty to receive regular mammograms, which can help diagnose potential problems such as breast cancer even more quickly than a self-exam might. Remember that not all women show signs of breast cancer the same way, so what may seem strange to someone else might be perfectly normal for you. It is important to keep these warning signs in mind, but not to panic if you do notice something that has changed.