One of the most common symptoms of breast cancer is the presence of a lump or thickening in the breast tissue. This lump may feel hard or firm, and it can be located anywhere in the breast. A lump that feels different from the surrounding tissue or that has uneven edges is more likely to be cancerous.
Other signs of breast cancer include changes in the shape or size of the breast. This can include a breast that appears to be swollen or enlarged, or one that has a distinct change in shape or contour. Dimpling or redness of the skin on the breast can also be a sign of cancer, as well as discharge from the nipple that is not breast milk, including blood.
Pain in the breast area or armpit can also be a symptom of breast cancer, as well as changes in the texture or appearance of the skin of the breast, such as scaly or crusty skin. Additionally, a change in the position or direction of the nipple can also be a sign of cancer.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions, so it’s essential to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may recommend additional tests such as a mammogram or biopsy to determine the cause of the symptoms.
It’s also worth noting that a normal breast can vary greatly between individuals. Factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, weight changes, and aging can all affect the appearance and feel of the breasts.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no lump is felt)
- Skin dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, flaking, or thickened
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collar bone (Sometimes this can be a sign of breast cancer spread even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt.)
In conclusion, if you notice any changes in your breasts or have symptoms that concern you, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. A proper diagnosis can only be made by a healthcare professional, and early detection is key for successful treatment of breast cancer. It’s also important to conduct regular self-examination, and to have regular mammograms if you are over the age of 40 or if you have a family history of breast cancer.