One of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women is breast cancer. In fact, 2.1 million women are impacted by breast cancer each year, according to data provided by the World Health Organization. Of these, it is estimated that 627,000 women die from the disease each year.
But there is a way to lower mortality rate – through early detection. And for early detection, it is vital that you know the signs of breast cancer. You should be even more aware of these symptoms if someone in your family has had breast cancer. This is because gene mutations passed through genetics is one of main causes of breast cancer. It is responsible for 5% to 10% of all cases. So, here are 5 symptoms that can help you detect breast cancer.
1. Changes in the Texture of the Skin
Breast cancer can lead to inflammation and changes in the skin cells, leading to alteration of the skin texture. Some of the changes could be:
- Skin around the nipples and areola becoming scaly, as if it really dry or sunburnt.
- Skin becoming thicker in an area of the breast.
Although it is not very common, some women also experience itching on the breasts. The changes in skin texture can also sometimes be due to conditions such as eczema or dermatitis.
2. Discharge from Nipples
If you are suffering from breast cancer, you may experience a discharge from your nipples. This discharge can be of different thicknesses and can vary in color as well. It can be milky, clear, red, green or yellow. This is an early symptom of breast cancer. The good news is that in most cases, the discharge from a nipple is non-cancerous.
Some of the other common reasons for nipple discharge are:
- Side effect of birth control pills.
- Breast infection.
- Variations in the physiology of the body.
- Medical conditions, including thyroid disease.
3. Changes in Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are kidney shaped organs that are part of the immune system of the body. Lymph nodes filter harmful substances, including cancer cells. If there is a cancer cell leaving the breast, it would first travel to the lymph nodes in the armpit region. When this happens, the lymph node becomes enlarged or inflamed. Additionally, swelling may also be experienced on the neck, near the collar bone at times. These generally feel like swollen, small lumps and can be soft to the touch. However, there are chances that the swelling is due to another illness or a breast infection.
Dimpling of the skin is a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. This is a form of aggressive breast cancer and occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the breast. This build-up leads to swelling or dimpling of the skin.
This is often referred to by doctors as “peau d’orange,” because this condition looks similar to the peel of an orange.
5. Nipple Inversion
There could also be some alterations behind the nipple due to breast cancer. This could lead to reversing or inverting of the nipple. In some cases, the nipple may look different in size because of the changes behind it.
Apart from these, some other symptoms of breast cancer are swelling of the breast, pain in the nipple and redness. In case you observe any of these signs, consult a doctor immediately.