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Can You Recognize Breast Cancer Symptoms?


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If you learn to recognize what the breast cancer symptoms are, you empower yourself to find out what's going on with your body. You might find out it's not cancer. You've lessened the burden of worry because you recognized a possible symptom, and bravely forged ahead to get diagnosed.

If you do you have cancer, you have a much better chance reaching the goal of recovery and long-term survival than if you'd put it off.

If you can learn to identify symptoms you can often help friends and family by giving the extremely valuable gift of early detection and diagnosis.

The Breast Lump

If you perform self-breast exam, eventually you'll find a lump. Is it a lump, or just normal “lumpiness, " many little benign lumps in both breasts? Breast lumps that suddenly occur need to be checked. Usually the smaller the lump, the better. The size of the lump may determine prognosis.

If a lump is found to be cancerous, what are the most common diagnoses? It could be a precancerous lump, such as ductal carcinoma in situ and less commonly, lobular carcinoma in situ.

The common types are invasive ductal carcinoma (about 80% of invasive cases), and invasive lobular carcinoma.

A Few Other Breast Cancer Symptoms

Dimpling of breast skin ("orange peel" appearance) is a symptom. Dimpling is caused by edema that surrounds a cancerous lump, which pulls on the skin.

Swollen or painful lymph nodes in the armpits or just above the collar bone signal possible cancer. Retracted, enlarged, scaly or itchy nipple, or even spontaneous change in sensation of the nipple may also be a sign.

Nipple discharge, especially on one side and bloody, yellowish or green, is a symptom in 4% of the patients with this symptom. Most women do have some kind of normal nipple discharge if the breasts are squeezed.

Constant pain on one side is sometimes a sign of breast cancer. Cyclical pain on both sides, caused by hormonal flux, is not a sign.

Asymmetry can be a symptom of cancer.

Breast skin redness, warmth and/or swelling can mimic non-cancerous infections or may be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. If the infection doesn't get better after a round of antibiotics, see your doctor.

In men, any breast lump, pain, or other change should be checked by a doctor.

Bone pain, significant weight loss, swelling of one arm, or ulceration of skin may be symptoms of advanced cancer, or may signify another condition. Diagnosis is essential.

Who Do I Ask?

Ask your family doctor. Your doctor may send you to a surgeon for biopsy, or if no lump is present, an oncologist.

What if you don't have any symptoms? You must use the most current screening recommendations for your age.

With breast cancer, knowledge is power. The earlier you recognize a symptom and get diagnosed, the better.

For more information on breast cancer try visiting - a website that specializes in providing breast cancer related information and resources including information on breast cancer symptoms .


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