How well do you know your breasts?
Do you know the symptoms of breast cancer? While any of these things could possibly be caused by another ailment, early detection is crucial. So if you notice one or more of them, make an appointment with your gynecologist to be sure everything is OK.
- A lump. Ring the alarm if you feel a lump or other thickening in your breast tissue or under your arm. Typically, a cancer mass is painless, hard and has irregular edges, but there are types that feel round and soft and tender to the touch, so always get lumps checked.
- Nipple tenderness. If your nipple or other part of your breast is inexplicably tender or sore, make an appointment.
- Skin changes. Some breast cancers cause a change in the texture of the skin. It’s often described as looking like an orange peel, with enlarged pores and ridges. It can also manifest as red, scaly, flaky patches or even cellulite-like dimpling.
- Inverted nipple. If your typically outward pointing nipples are suddenly turning inward, get yourself to the doctor.
- Size changes. Whether your breasts unexpectedly swell or shrink, a change in size—especially if it’s just on one side—is a sign of possible breast cancer.
- Nipple discharge. If you’re not pregnant or postnatal, nipple discharge—especially if it’s bloody or clear—is a signal that you need to schedule an exam.
You know your breasts better than anyone, so your attention to these details is key.