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Today, one out of every 8 women is under the risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women around the world. Today, one out of every 8 women is under the risk of breast cancer. Although it is a quite prevalent condition, breast cancer can be diagnosed early and treated with high success rates if the condition is monitored properly in line with the screening programs. It is, therefore, critical to visit a doctor as soon as the signs of this disease emerge.
Prof. Ali Uğur Emre, M.D., from Breast and Endocrine Surgery Department of Güven Hospital informs us about the signs of breast cancer for “September 1st-31st, Breast Cancer Awareness Month”.
Measures should be taken as soon as the signs of breast cancer develop.
Many breast cancer cases can be diagnosed early and have the chance of treatment thanks to the activities of public awareness on breast cancer, the implementation of cancer screening programs and the common use of breast ultrasound and mammogram which play a critical role in the early diagnosis. Having periodical screening regularly is an absolute responsibility of all women for their own health in terms of a disease for which early diagnosis is such important. In addition, there are some obvious signs of the breast cancer. Those signs should be evaluated and the person checked up by a physician as soon as after they emerge. When those signs and symptoms develop, the most accurate approach is to clear up whether the patient has breast cancer or not, although the signs do not absolutely indicate the disease.
Each lump in a breast should be paid attention
There may be various reasons of the lumps in breasts. Those lumps can be benign in nature, but they may also be the initial sign of the breast cancer. Women who do self-examination of breasts regularly can recognize a new-onset lump in the breast more easily. Stiff, ill-defined, still and pain-free lumps are more suspicious regarding the breast cancer. Nevertheless, all lumps in a breast should be examined by a physician and they should be evaluated in the light of radiology studies (ultrasound and/or mammogram). After those lumps are evaluated, diagnosis can be quickly made with a biopsy procedure for the lumps that are deemed suspicious.
The retraction of the nipple can be an alarming sign for cancer.
Although the nipple can be congenitally inverted in some women, an apparently healthy nipple may become retracted afterwards. Developmental retractions are not clinically significant. Retraction of a nipple with normal structure is a warning sign for the breast cancer. Although the retraction may be secondary to certain inflammatory diseases and surgeries, it should necessarily be investigated regarding the breast cancer as soon as it is recognized. Similarly, skin of the breast may retract and collapse in an acquired manner. In this case, an examination and radiology studies are required to rule out the risk of a breast tumor that causes the retraction in skin. Women should do self-examination of breast on monthly basis to visualize those retractions better; in the self-examination, women should raise their arms and evaluate the breast skin by contracting the chest muscles in front of a mirror.
Changes in shape and skin color of a breast require a detailed breast examination.
Breasts are symmetrical organs. There may be slight size differences between two breasts. However, a detailed breast examination should be performed in case of loss of the normal appearance and symmetry, abnormal growth in one of the breasts, loss of symmetry and color changes in the breast skin. Breast symmetry can be more clearly evaluated by looking at the position of both nipples. Another change that can be realized on breast skin is the edematous skin and the sign of orange peel. Abnormal dilatation of blood vessels on the breast skin can also be a sign of cancer, if they were not clearly visible in the past.
Nipple discharge may indicate cancer.
The nipple discharge is one of the most common complaints specified by the patients at breast clinics. Any woman can experience nipple discharge at a period of life. Those are mostly harmless and they are caused by the accumulation of fluids in lactiferous ducts (milk ducts). Certain medications, hormonal changes and co-existing diseases are among the possible causes of those discharges. Certain nipple discharges can indicate the breast cancer. Mostly originating from the lactiferous ducts, breasts cancers can cause nipple discharge that is hemorrhagic in nature. After the nipple discharge is evaluated by a physician and a suspicious finding is revealed out, radiology studies is ordered to verify the underlying cause and necessary treatments can be started thereafter. Breasts should not be squeezed to check if there is nipple discharge. Traumas to the breast can also lead to suspicious discharge.
Swellings in armpits should be paid attention
As the lymphatic invasion of breast diseases mostly involve the armpits, swellings in this body part should necessarily be evaluated regarding the breast cancer. It is crucial that a specialist evaluates if those lumps, most of which are caused by enlarged lymph nodes, grow secondary to an inflammatory condition or they are a result of the lymphatic invasion of a breast cancer.
Breast cancers can cause pain in the breast in some cases
Although the breast cancer is usually a pain-free condition, pain in breast and nipple should necessarily be taken into consideration due to some specific conditions.
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