Breast cancer is one of the common types of cancer that affect thousands of people around the world. It mostly impacted women, however, even many men are prone to this ailment. In 2020 (the Covid-19 year), over 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide.
Out of them, about 6,85,000 patients succumbed to the ailments. Currently, according to data from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), 1 in 8 women in the United States are prone to this disease. One of the most common breast cancer symptoms is the formation of a lump in breast around the chest area.
Therefore, it is important to keep a check on such changes in your body and contact a doctor if something goes wrong. This helps in the early recognition of the disease and might be treated better. Dr Laura Dominici, who is an associate surgeon at Dana-Farber/Brigham Cancer Center, noted that it is extremely important to have regular mammograms and ultrasounds and said:
So we mentioned that one of the known and common symptoms of this type of cancer is the formation of lumps but there is a little twist to that as well. It is not necessary that every breast cancer patient would be noticing lumps. Moreover, there are a host of other breast cancer symptoms that are essential to have knowledge of. This is what this article is aimed at!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Before jumping into the list of lesser-known breast cancer symptoms, let’s first discuss Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is scheduled in October every year. Even though Breast Cancer Awareness Month is now over, we would like to spread awareness and information about it on the National Cancer Day of India. The motive behind dedicating an entire month towards this disease is to extend knowledge about this fatal disease to those who don’t know much about it or are living in a bubble of misconceptions. Also, some non-profit organisations (NGOs) at this time promote the participation of people in donations that would be used for breast cancer treatment of needy people.
Breast Cancer Symptoms Other Than Lump Formations
Breast cancer symptoms devoid of a lump in breast are vital to know due to the fact that you might be misled in case you don’t see lumps forming around the chest area but there are other signs present. Therefore, go through the list mentioned below carefully and note down the intricate details on paper for reference later.
1. A Drastic Change In Breast Size
If you notice a sudden change in your breast size, it might be a sign of breast cancer. The alteration would be noticeable easily if you compare one of your boobs to the other. The size of breasts generally is not the same, but any huge or significant difference might be an alarming signal. In addition, you can know of such a modification if your bra doesn’t fit one of your boobs.
The thing to note here is that in very rare cases the size of the breast will decrease. In other cases, the size gets unexpectedly big. If you notice such a change, it would be possible that you are diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is just the initial stage. Therefore, it is recommended that you go to a breast medical oncologist for consultation. When breast cancer treatment is initiated early, then the chances of survival are higher so don’t ignore even a small change that could affect you adversely.
2. Symptoms Similar To Breast Infection
There are high chances of you noticing a change in your breast/chest area and thinking that it is an infection. These include swelling and redness of the area along with rashes. While this may actually be a sign of a skin infection, it might even mean something much more serious. All the above-mentioned alterations around this area can also be considered as inflammatory breast cancer symptoms.
In case the redness or swelling around the area does not get better even after consuming the prescribed antibiotics then there are chances of you being diagnosed with breast cancer. In such a situation, consult the doctor again whom you decided to get the ‘infection’ treated by. Then conduct other tests and if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, do rush to an oncologist specialising in treating this disease.
3. Unexpected Discharge From Nipples
Any unexpected discharge from nipples is itself something unusual and should be thought once about. However, experts have suggested that a bloody discharge should be a much more alarming signal. In case the discharge is clear, white, yellow, pale, or even green, it might be due to some underlying infection. But if it is bloody then one should not take it lightly at all.
This is because of the fact that this could be a sign or symptom of breast cancer, which is not something pleasant. Dt Dominici elaborated on the same and said that:
But she did mention if the discharge is too often and sudden that too if it concerns blood then it might surely be a case of breast cancer. Therefore, it is important to keep a regular check on the clothes or bras that you wear. If you notice some unusual discharge then do contact the doctor regardless of if it is serious or not.
4. Changes In Nipple Or Breast Skin
Well, breast cancer symptoms might totally alter the way your boobs look. Doctors suggest that you should keep a watch on the way the skin around breasts and nipples changes. This might include dimpling or even wrinkling of your skin. In addition, you might notice a phenomenon known as ‘nipple inversion.’ Further, if you see cracks on your nipple or they seem to be swelled then those could be alarming signals that you should never ignore.
These symptoms might not all occur at once. Therefore, even a small transformation should be kept a note of. Any cracks or dimples around the area might sometimes seem normal but it is possible that it is not so. So, instead of being misled, you should consider visiting a doctor for further information on the same. Even after having the prescribed medicine if the situation does not improve then do consult an oncologist for better understanding.
An Alert Closure!
Breast cancer is a very serious disease, and this is why you should take any of the above-mentioned signs lightly. Some of the breast cancer symptoms mentioned above might not actually be due to this serious disease and could be possible signs of an infection. However, we believe that prevention is better than cure. Also, the area around your breasts is very sensitive and any change would affect you much more than what we might even expect. Therefore, it is better that you take care of yourself and visit the doctor if you spot any of those symptoms (including a lump in breast).