If you want to get nervous about developing breast cancer, then just read some figures. The reality is that one woman out of nine will develop breast cancer some time in her life. So even if you manage to be one of the eight who doesn’t get it, chances are you will know someone, perhaps someone quite close to you, who will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer doesn’t care if you’re in your teens or a mature woman. All women need to know the symptoms so they can get treatment as early as possible if breast cancer develops.
The good news is that even though breast cancer occurs so frequently, if it’s treated in the early stages it’s highly curable for about six out of seven cases. So one of the most important things you can do is keep watching for symptoms, so that even if breast cancer occurs, you have a good chance of beating it. If you don’t discover breast cancer until an advanced stage, your chances of recovery are much lower – only about one in seven.
So what are the symptoms? They vary from woman to woman, and unfortunately many of them can occur for a multitude of reasons, but if you observe any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis, do yourself a favor and get it checked out by your doctor. Many symptoms don’t involve any noticeable discomfort or pain; so don’t wait for that to happen before seeking advice. Symptoms include:
– Breast is warm to touch
– Itching in the breast region or armpit
– Ridges or thickened areas of the skin on the breast or nipple
– Pink, red or dark colored area that has a texture similar to orange skin
– Something that looks like a bruise that doesn’t fade
– Nipple starts becoming inverted
– Pain in the breast, anything from stabbing pains through to a constant ach
– The aureole changes in color and/or texture
– The breast shape or size changes
– Lump or swelling in the armpit
– Discharge from the nipple
– Dimpled skin on the breast
Research has shown that certain groups of women are more at risk of developing breast cancer. So if you belong to a high-risk category, it’s even more important that you regularly monitor your breasts, and either have your breasts checked for lumps by your doctor, or learn to do it yourself. Major risk factors include:
– Hormone replacement therapy
– High fat diet
– Taking the oral contraceptive pill
– Family history of breast cancer
– Alcohol use
Again, always remember that breast cancer is highly treatable if it’s caught early. It’s better to get something suspicious checked out by your doctor and be proven wrong, than let it go and find out later you could have reduced the chance of mastectomy or even death because of breast cancer. Most of the time any symptoms will prove to be unrelated to breast cancer, but don’t take that risk. Always get suspicious symptoms checked by your doctor, so you can get an accurate diagnosis.