What are the first warning Signs Of Breast Cancer? What does early-stage breast Cancer Feel Like? Do you Feel unwell with early breast Cancer?No woman wants to hear a diagnosis of breast cancer from her physician. It is a terrifying prospect, the idea that one’s breasts, symbols of motherhood and womanhood, are threatened by serious disease. But it is more than that. Breast cancer left undiagnosed and untreated can, eventually, turn fatal if it metastasizes to other parts of the body.Fortunately, women today are much more astute about their bodies than even their mothers and grandmothers were. They pay attention to changes in their physicality and don’t deny or postpone getting professional help for potential problems.In this post, we delve into the early warning signs of breast cancer and suggest what you should be checking for if you see changes in your breasts. If you notice even one of these in your own breasts, it’s time for a visit to your physician. Only she/he can say with certainty whether there is cause for genuine alarm. If so, she/he will talk to you about the next steps and the importance of an early diagnosis and future treatment options.
- You’ve Noticed a Lump
If you perform self-examinations of your breasts regularly (and you should) and you feel a lump, even a tiny one, call your doctor. Many of these are simply benign cysts that are nothing to worry about. But we cannot stress enough that even a small lump needs to be assessed by your doctor, who will then determine whether you need to be seen by a specialist.
- Discoloration In The Skin Or Nipple
Any changes to the colour of your breast, no matter how minor, require attention from your physician.
- If You Detect a Change In The Size Of One Of Your Breast, Have It Checked
These types of changes are different than a noticeable lump. If your breast feels larger, or different in shape, make an appointment with your doctor.
- Changes In The Texture Of Your Skin
Your breasts should be checked by a doctor if you notice that your breast skin, or the nipples, look and feel different. Sometimes an affected breast takes on the look and feel of dimpled orange peel, and this is a sign that something might be wrong.
- Are They Swollen, Tender Or Sore?
Most women experience swelling and tenderness every month when their period is due. This early warning sign will feel different than the changes that occur during your monthly cycle.
- Your Breast Feels Unusually Warm
Although this doesn’t mean there is definitely a tumour, it is cause for concern. Changes in the temperature of your breasts when you touch them, if they feel warm or even hot, means you need to follow up with your doctor.
- Do They Hurt When You Touch Them?
If you experience pain or even some discomfort when you touch or massage the skin of your breasts or nipples, have them checked. This means, perhaps, something is wrong. Even minor pain could be an indication that a small tumour is present.Even a benign lump can cause pain, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and let your doctor know what’s happening. If she agrees that your discomfort is out of the ordinary, she will send you to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis.
- Discharge From Your Nipples
Any time you’re noticing discharge from your nipple or nipples and you’re not a new mom who is breastfeeding, you should see your doctor. Discharge can be a clear sign that something is amiss.
- Your Breast/Breasts Feel Itchy & Is/Are Easily Irritated
Again, these may not be cause for concern, but they might be. It’s always best to talk to your doctor if you feel your breasts are “behaving” differently in any way.
- The Skin Of Your Breast Or Nipple Is Flaking
Changes to the skin don’t only come in the form of discoloration or lumpiness. Sometimes the skin of your breast or nipple may begin flaking as if you had a sunburn. If this happens, it’s best to consult your doctor. This is particularly important if it happens in conjunction with another one of the symptoms we’ve mentioned here.Catching breast cancer in its earliest stages is crucial for treatment options to be most effective. Once you’ve been seen by your doctor, you will know what to do next, and the treatments available to you.First of all, you need a firm and complete diagnosis.This is done in different ways: blood work, a mammogram, and if necessary, a biopsy of any lump or lumps that an oncologist discovers. These specialists are able to detect even a pea-sized lump and will recommend a biopsy if they feel further investigation is required.Prevention is always the best way of avoiding breast cancer.Here are a few ways you can ensure that this diagnosis doesn’t happen. But if it does, if you do turn out to be one of the thousands of women each year who receive this news, take heart. Breast cancer is not the death sentence it once was. Caught early, it can be treated successfully and you can live a long and healthy life, completely cancer-free. However, you need to care for your breasts throughout your life in order to keep them healthy.Here are some of the recommendations offered by the Mayo Clinic for preventing breast cancer:
1- Reduce Or Eliminate Alcohol From Your Diet
This is number one on the list, according to the Clinic. No more than one drink per day is advised, as even a small amount more, say two or three glasses of wine, can increase your chances of developing breast cancer.
2- Lots Of Physical Activity Helps
This is true for all types of cancer prevention. Keeping active, even walking briskly three or four times per week for 40 minutes, helps control your weight and reduces your risk.
3- Keep Your Weight Down
This applies to most cancer prevention regimens. Reducing your intake of red meat, saturated fats and cholesterol is helpful in preventing many forms of cancer, not just breast cancer.
4- Reconsider Hormone Replacement Therapy After Menopause
Although the research is not yet fully conclusive, some studies indicate that women’s risk of developing breast cancer increases with HRT (hormone replacement therapy). If you are considering this, talk over the risks thoroughly with your doctor. She may advise against it, particularly if there is a history of breast cancer in your family.
5- When You Have Babies, Breastfeed If You Can
Studies show that women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t, or women who’ve never had children. Not all women are able to breastfeed successfully, and of course, there is no reason to feel bad about that if it happens. However, research does show that breastfeeding reduces your risk.
6- Depending On Your Age, Get a Mammogram
The science on how often you should be screened has changed. Women under 60 generally don’t need mammograms each year, as was at one time the standard recommendation. Today the guidelines are different. Your doctor will know what’s best for you, so consult her when making your decision.Mammograms can detect a lump long before you can see or feel them, so they are an important tool for prevention. And if there is a history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may decide you should have a mammogram every year, or perhaps every other year. Take her advice!According to the American Cancer Society, women have a 90 percent, five-year survival rate if their breast cancer is caught early and treated immediately. That is a far cry from the doom and gloom prognosis this type of cancer once engendered.But the key to that success is twofold: prevention and early detection.It’s important, for many reasons, that you take care of your breasts by doing regular self-assessments. If you don’t know how to do this properly, ask your doctor or do some online research. A self-exam is easy to do, and quick. If you find anything – a lump, a bit of tenderness that feels wrong – contact your doctor immediately.Breast cancer is one of medicine’s great success stories. It has not been eliminated, but thanks to science and women’s knowledge of their bodies, it is not as scary as it once was. And it is certainly not a death sentence anymore, as it was even 50 or 60 years ago.You can do a lot to prevent ever hearing this diagnosis. Maintain a regular exercise schedule. Eat a healthy diet most of the time. Consume little or no alcohol, or save a splurge for a special occasion, like your wedding anniversary or birthday. Be your best health care advocate by insisting on getting the fullest information you can if you do develop breast cancer.Taking these active steps ensures your body stays healthy and strong for as long as possible. Working hard to reduce your risk of breast cancer means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate a long and happy life, cancer-free.