Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed globally after skin cancer. It is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the breasts.
Though breast cancer can affect both men and women, it frequently affects women. When it comes to the symptoms, breast cancer generally shows no signs in the early stage. Still, most of us know that a breast lump is the most common presenting sign of breast cancer. But for 1 in 6, the spectrum of symptoms for breast cancer does not include a protrusion. However, a timely diagnosis can turn a breast cancer story into a survivor’s tale.
So in this article, we’ll be uncovering the early signs of breast cancer. All of these signs could be the result of a noncancerous condition. However, people who experience these signs should consult their doctor if tests are required to rule out cancerous and noncancerous diseases.
Breast lumps or lumpiness
Many women complain that their breasts are lumpy. Breast tissue has a bumpy texture by nature, and some women’s breasts have more lumpiness than others. This lumpiness is usually not a cause for concern. If the lumpiness is felt throughout the breast and is similar to your other breast, it is most likely normal breast tissue.
Lumps that feel extremely hard or dissimilar from the rest of the breast should be evaluated. This type of lump could indicate a tumor. The tumor is rarely noticeable to see from the naked eye or touch in the early stage, which is why mammograms play a critical role. A mammogram breast cancer screening may help identify a tumor or the breast lump long before it is big enough to start causing problems.
Furthermore, don’t assume a new lump is cancerous if you’ve previously lumped it. After all, this new lump could be something other than breast cancer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Although liquid leaking from your nipple (nipple discharge) can be uncomfortable, it is rarely a sign of breast cancer. Your body’s natural response may be released when the nipple is squeezed.
However, discharge without squeezing the nipple or only one breast is a clear sign of breast cancer. An infection or another condition that necessitates treatment can also cause nipple discharge. Consult a doctor if you have any nipple discharge.
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Breast cancer can cause skin changes that cause it to look discolored or covered in bruises. If a person has not recently experienced trauma to the breast to explain these shifts, they should consult with their doctor. It is also critical to seek medical attention if breast discoloration persists, even if trauma was the root of the cause.
Changes in the skin’s texture
Breast cancer can cause variations and inflammation in skin cells, resulting in changes in texture. Examples of these texture variations include:
- Thickening of the skin in any part of the breast
- Scaly skin surrounding the areola and nipple, as if the skin has been sunburned or is extremely dry
These changes may also cause itching, which many people relate to breast cancer, though this is not common. But at the same time, these skin changes could be symptoms of Paget’s disease, a specific type of breast cancer. Furthermore, texture changes can also be caused by skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.
Dimpling can occasionally indicate inflammatory breast cancer, a more aggressive version of breast cancer. According to a reliable resource, cancer cells can accumulate lymph fluid in the breast, resulting in swelling and dimpling or punctured skin. Anyone who observes skin dimpling should consult a doctor right away. Doctors refer to this change in the appearance of the skin as “peau d’orange” because the dimply skin starts to look like an orange.
Changes in lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are tiny, rounded groups of immune system tissue that filter fluid and withhold potentially harmful cells. Viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells are all examples of these. When a cancer cell leaves the breast, it makes its way to the underarm lymph zone on the same side as the concerned breast, which can cause swelling in the affected area.
A person may notice swollen lymph nodes around the collarbone and those in the armpit. They typically have the appearance of small, firm, engorged lumps that are tender to the touch. However, lymph tissue can change due to breast infections or other unassociated illnesses. It is always best to discuss these changes with a doctor so that they can be identified.
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Breast or nipple discomfort
Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells, resulting in breast pain, sensitivity, and discomfort. Although breast cancer is often pain-free, it is critical not to dismiss any symptoms or signs that could be related to the disease. The pain may be described as a burning sensation by some people.
Apart from these signs and symptoms, many conditions can cause breast changes, such as eczema, dermatitis, infections, and cysts. But regardless of the cause, one should never automatically rule out the possibility of breast cancer. Do not hold yourself back if you are concerned about any signs you experience, including those mentioned above and other conditions. Talk to your doctor for a diagnosis or evaluation and determine whether any breast changes are a cause of concern.