Table of contents:
- Why does breast cancer appear?
- How to avoid missing breast cancer
- Signs that not everyone knows about
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. It is estimated that one in eight women, regardless of age, race or country of residence, has breast cancer.
Why does breast cancer appear?
Women are more likely to experience breast cancer than men, and gender is an important risk factor in this case. Age also plays a significant role: the older the woman, the higher the chances of getting breast cancer.
Other factors that need to be kept in mind include: family history, that is, the presence of this or other forms of cancer in close relatives, genetic characteristics - the presence of certain mutations in the genome, early onset of menstruation and late onset of menopause.
Being overweight, sedentary, smoking and drinking also increases the likelihood of encountering this form of cancer. These lifestyle features can be dealt with, reducing your chances of getting sick.
How to avoid missing breast cancer
The most reliable diagnostic method is regular mammography. In Russia, every woman over 40 must undergo such a study at least once every two years. Mammography may be done more frequently if directed by your doctor. In the absence of complaints, you need to see a mammologist annually.
Self-examination is also important, it will reveal the most common and well-known sign of breast cancer - lumps under the arm or in the breast itself. Their appearance does not necessarily indicate a malignant tumor, but the nodes should not be ignored.
Signs that not everyone knows about
It is important to remember that breast cancer can have other manifestations that are not always associated with cancer, and therefore are often ignored and not taken seriously. We have collected 7 signs that you also need to pay attention to.
Discharge from the nipple
Any discharge from the nipple - transparent, cloudy, bloody - should be alarming, especially if it concerns only one breast. Even once noticed liquid discharge should become a reason for excitement and consultation with a mammologist, and if they are constant, then you need to see a doctor immediately.
Your breast skin may start to look different. Changes in color - redness or orange hue, thinning, wrinkles, sudden persistent swelling, the formation of a kind of "orange peel" on the breast surface. Such signs may indicate an inflammatory process in the mammary gland.
Changes in the shape or size of the breast
Most women have asymmetrical breasts, but shape and condition usually remain the same day after day. Sudden enlargement of one breast, usually associated with edema, as well as a change in shape is another reason to be wary. The mammary gland may acquire an unusual shape, despite the fact that pronounced nodes inside may not be felt.
If the skin of the breasts itches from the seams of the bra, uncomfortable clothes, or other obvious reasons, this is normal, although it causes some discomfort. Unreasonable itching, as well as tingling and tingling sensations, can be early manifestations of many forms of breast cancer, including the rare form of nipple cancer, otherwise known as Paget's disease.
The appearance of these sensations is associated with the destruction of adipose tissue in the mammary gland and other processes that affect nerve endings in one way or another.
The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer are similar to those of mastitis, an infection of the breast familiar to many breastfeeding mothers. The skin at the site of localization becomes warm and even hot.
Often, a change in skin temperature is one or the main sign of this form of cancer - it is not possible to find enlarged lymph nodes or any lumps, and even mammography is not always able to detect changes.
Changing the shape of the nipple
An inverted or flat nipple in those whose nipples have always been convex, or, conversely, unexpected bulging of flat nipples is another alarming sign that indicates that something is wrong with the mammary gland.
Changes in the shape of the nipple are possible and normal: for example, inverted nipples are often pulled out during breastfeeding. However, sudden changes in their usual appearance should be alarming. Changes in the shape of the nipple can be a symptom of Paget's disease, invasive ductal carcinoma, and some other types of breast cancer.
Rash and red spots
Acne of unknown origin, the appearance of which cannot be associated with an allergy to food or clothing, a rash that does not go away for a long time, red spots of different diameters, unlike insect bites, are another reason to consult a doctor. In rare cases, the rash may cover the entire breast, but usually only a small area is affected.
It is easier to treat a disease if it is detected at an early stage. For this, it is important to be attentive to yourself and not to miss the signs of the disease. All the symptoms described above can be typical for other disorders, but it is better to play it safe than to miss a dangerous illness.