Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in women. Though it also affects men, the incidence rate is quite low. Early detection (be it any type of cancer) increases the chances of survival in case of this deadly ailment.
For better and timely diagnosis, it is very important to detect the early signs of breast cancer. In this blog we will be discussing the signs of breast cancer.
Have you ever paid attention to your breasts?
How often do you check your breasts?
Ever noticed anything unusual around that area?
These questions are very crucial when it comes to determining the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Start with having a look carefully at your breasts.
How to check your breasts?
You don’t need any special training to check your breasts. Each woman has a different set of breasts and you should know how your breasts normally feel like or look like. When you know this, you will easily be able to spot anything unusual in your breast area.
Check the whole area around your breast including your armpits & upper chest and if you notice anything unusual, get yourself checked by a doctor.
What to check?
Check for any lumps around your breast area, upper chest or even around armpits. Lumps can be the primary symptom of breast cancer. Pain in breast can also be a sign of breast cancer but usually it is not in most cases. Pain in your breast can be due to other reasons as well but if an unexplained pain prevails over some time, it is advisable to get it checked by a doctor.
Checking your breasts for any signs of breast cancer follows a simple formula: TLC: Touch, Look, Check
- Lumps are not visible, but they can be felt. Look for any lump or swelling in your breast, armpits and upper chest.
- Check for any changes in shape or texture of your breasts. A change in size or shape of your breasts might be an indicator of something fishy, for instance one breast appearing larger than the other one.
- Have a look closely at the texture of your breasts. Look for any puckering or dimpling of the breast skin.
- Closely examine the color of the breasts. If you notice any redness or inflammation on your breasts, get it checked by a doctor.
- Notice whether your nipples look different than usual. A change like inversion of one of the nipples if present (these are usually pointed outwards), then consult a doctor.
- If there is any unusual discharge from your nipples, immediate action is required.
- Check for any rashes or crusting on your nipples or the areas nearby.
If you notice any of the above symptoms (also presented in Figure 1), then go and see a doctor. It is not necessary that having any of these symptoms is the sign of breast cancer, but it is always safe to have a breast screening post consulting with a doctor. Doctor would examine and if further check-ups required, he will refer you to the specialists accordingly.
Figure 1: Symptoms of breast cancer in women
Do you need to check your breasts often?
Well, as a precautionary step or rather say to be on the safer side and to be aware of this disease you can check your breasts at regular intervals. You can check them monthly or bi-monthly or how often you feel like.
Once you start checking them regularly you will be able to identify even the slightest change taking place in them, be it due to age or at various times of a month. Your breasts can feel sore or heavy before or during your periods, heavier and bigger during pregnancy and you might notice this change if you know your breasts well.
In the similar way if anything is odd with them, it would be noticeable when you are aware of the normal/usual appearance of your breasts.
Breast cancer in men:
Men also have breast tissue, but they are very much less developed as compared to the ones of women. This is also the reason why breast cancer in men is a rare phenomenon.
But, still, we cannot feign ignorance to the fact that men too, are affected by breast cancer.
Signs & symptoms of breast cancer in men:
If someone in your family had breast cancer, you have some chances of getting it, but again it’s not definite that you will. Regularly checking your breast is a wise option especially if you have a genetic record of Klinefelter’s Syndrome (history of breast cancer in family).
The breast tissues in men are mostly behind the nipple area & the pigmented region known as areola. Breast cancer in men usually appears around the nipple area as a lump (Figure 2).
Fig. 2: (a) Shows changes in the look of the nipple or areola (direction change in nipple); (b) shows discharge from nipple or nipple ulcers; (c) Shows lump formation around nipple or armpit
If you find any of these symptoms, go and consult a doctor. In case cancer is detected, you can get an early diagnosis, ensuring better and faster recovery. If not, then, any other problem might also get solved in time.
Turacoz Healthcare Solutions requests every men & women to pay close attention to these specific parts of their body and help themselves in early detection of breast cancer, if present.
An early detection increases your chances for better treatment and recovery.