Even with the influx of breast cancer screenings and checkups, the symptoms of breast cancer can often go ignored, especially for younger women. Breast cancer is typically known as an older person’s disease, so young women, and sometimes even young men, can often miss those early signs of breast cancer.
Most breast cancers are discovered by women during regular everyday activities like bathing or getting dressed. It’s super important to know how your breasts typically feel and look and to be alert for any signs and symptoms of breast cancer, such as a lump, which can help you detect the cancer early, when it is the easiest to treat the disease.
Research shows that regular breast self exams are not actually the best way to detect cancer early. But being aware of how your breasts typically look and feel and scheduling a doctor’s appointment as soon as you notice any abnormalities and changes can help you get diagnosed early. Most breast cancers are detected during daily activities like applying deodorant, showering and scratching, and it is recommended that women see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, even if the symptoms seem mild.
The symptoms of breast cancer
Most breast changes are caused by hormonal conditions or cycles that are less worrying than breast cancer, but if you do spot or experience any breast cancer symptoms, even mild ones, you should see a doctor right away. Here are some breast cancer symptoms to watch out for:
● A lump in the breast or armpit. A lump in the armpit or breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer, so you should see a doctor right away if you spot a lump. Patients often describe this lump as a ball or a nodule, and the lumps might feel rubbery and soft or hard. You might not be able to see the lump, unless you have very small breasts or the lump is very large, so it’s important that you feel around your breasts in order to see if you have any lumps.
● Skin redness. Skin redness on your breasts is another common symptom of breast cancer.
● Dimpling or puckering on the breast. If you see any dimpling or puckering on the breast, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment and get it checked out right away.
● Scaliness on the nipple. If you spot scaliness on your nipple, this is another common sign of breast cancer. This scaliness can sometimes extend to the areola.
● Discharge from the nipple. Discharge from the nipple is another common sign of breast cancer.
● Nipple changes. If you spot any changes in your nipples, this can be another common sign of breast cancer. Nipple changes might include the nipple turning inward or pulling to one side or changing direction.
● Ulcer on the breast or nipple. An ulcer on either your breast or nipple is another common sign of breast cancer. The ulcer on your nipple can sometimes extend to the areola.
● Thickening of the skin. Thickening of the skin on your breasts can be another common sign of breast cancer. This thickening of the skin usually results in an orange peel texture, so watch out for that and schedule a doctor’s appointment if you notice any thickening of the skin, especially with the orange peel texture.
Most of these signs and symptoms only apply to women. While it is rare, men can also get breast cancer, and the most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are dimpling, discharge and lumps.
How to reduce your risk of breast cancer
Early detection, and contacting a breast surgeon Adelaide if you choose to go that route, is certainly important when it comes to breast cancer, but it is also super important to do what you can to reduce your risk. There are so many lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
● Stay lean after menopause. Maintaining a healthy weight and a low amount of body fat, as well as consuming a healthy diet, can help reduce your risk.
● Get active and sit less. We also recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, including strength training at least twice per week.
● Avoid alcohol. If you drink alcohol, we recommend limiting yourself to no more than one drink per day if you are a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you are a man.
● Choose to breastfeed. We recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months after giving birth and continuing to breastfeed even when other foods are introduced.
● Manage hormones naturally. If you are going through menopause, we recommend trying non-hormonal methods of managing your symptoms before turning to hormone replacement therapy.