Breast cancer has become the number three leading cause of death among women in the United States. It is estimated that 1 in 30 women will die of breast cancer after being diagnosed with this cancer. Every year, around 42,000 people succumb to breast cancer. Both men and women are susceptible to this disease, although only a small percentage of men are diagnosed with this cancer type.
To diagnose breast cancer, healthcare providers will perform a series of tests, such as biopsy, ultrasound and mammogram. Nevertheless, remember to always seek medical advice and diagnosis from a qualified doctor. Symptoms of early breast cancer may include:
1. A lump in the breast or armpit
All breast lumps are not cancerous, and all breast cancers don’t begin with a lump. A node or lump formation in any part of the breast could happen due to many reasons other than breast cancer, such as fibroadenoma, cyst, fat necrosis, phyllode tumors and much else. Generally speaking, a lump that is not attached to the base or skin of the breast tissue and becomes sore around the menstrual cycle is mostly fibroadenoma.
Tumors that are benign, fibroadenoma or cysts don’t usually require further treatment unless they are extremely painful or large. Having a benign breast lump doesn’t, in fact, increase the risk of getting breast cancer, according to medical studies. The bottom line is, all new lumps should be examined by a medical professional.
2. Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
Swelling of the breast for reasons other than breast cancer include hormonal changes before or during menstruation, or swelling of breast due to lobules and cysts. Excess growth of fibrous tissue can also lead to swelling and pain in the breast tissues.
These can only be properly identified by a doctor at a medical office. Swelling of breast tissues may also be evident due to skin irritation, nipple infection, blocked tear ducts, or injury to the breast.
3. Abnormal nipple discharge or blood
Abnormal nipple discharge or discharge of blood from the nipple is one of the symptoms of breast cancer. However, just like other symptoms related to a wide range of breast diseases, not all nipple discharge is necessarily cancer. Noncancerous growths or blockages may occur in the breast ducts, a condition called intraductal papilloma. When the ducts become inflamed, pus or blood sticky in texture can ooze out of the nipple.
A non-cancerous swelling of mammary duct, called duct ectasia, can also result in nipple discharge. Other reasons why discharge of blood takes place include, but not limited to, side effects of birth control pill usage, abscess, infection, endocrine disorders, fibrocystic nature of the breast, injury, galactorrhea, use of certain medications, severe hormonal changes, periductal mastitis, pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, any abnormal breast discharge should be examined by a doctor.