About 1 in 8 US women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US. Moreover, as of January 2020, more than 3.5 million American women have a history of breast cancer.
The numbers are truly frightening, but the good news is that when breast cancer is detected early and is in a localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. This is why having regular checkups and screening tests can be lifesaving.
Medical News Today has released a guide to 9 of the most common signs of breast cancer, revealing that it’s not only a lump in the breast to look for. And Twitter has gotten on board to spread awareness. After the user @TheOlajumoke retweeted the infogram, it blew up on social media with 210.5K retweets and 143.9K likes, and counting!
Remember that a professional checkup to determine whether it’s a cancerous or noncancerous condition is never too soon.
Perhaps the most recognized symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. While many women go to the doctor after finding a lump, every woman should also be aware of other changes to the breast or nipple that could indicate the presence of this debilitating illness. If detected in its early stage, breast cancer can be cured more easily.
Nipple discharge may be one of the signs of breast cancer; however, it’s normal for people who are breastfeeding to have a milky discharge from the nipples. In some cases, nipple discharge can be cancerous, and a person should seek medical care if they observe a thin or thick type of discharge that can vary in color from milky, to yellow, green, and red.
Other possible reasons for nipple discharge may be: breast infections, side effects of birth control and certain medications, certain medical conditions like thyroid disease, and variations in body physiology.
On some occasions, skin dimpling can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer because cancer cells cause a buildup of lymph fluid in the breast which leads to swelling, dimpling, or pitted skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.
Unusual breast or nipple pain are among the symptoms of invasive breast cancer, and a person should seek medical advice.
Nipple retraction, which can also be called nipple inversion, invaginated nipple, or inverted nipple, is the name given when the point of the breast turns inward or becomes inverted. The condition can be the result of inflammation or scarring of the tissue behind the nipple and can be caused by numerous conditions, breast cancer being one of them.
If a person hasn’t experienced a recent trauma to the breast but notices obvious changes to the color of breast skin, they should seek medical care immediately.
According to Medical News Today, if a cancer cell leaves the breast, the first place it travels to is the underarm lymph node region on the same side as the affected breast. This can lead to swelling in this area. The swelling may also be felt around the collarbone. These swollen lumps may be tender for touch, firm, and small.
Breast cancer may be the cause of a sudden swelling of the entire breast or an area of it. There may also be a distinct lump after this swelling.
Image credits: Stephen kelly, 2018
The earlier you find the disease, the easier it is to treat. Mammograms, an X-ray of the breast, can show tumors before they get large enough to feel. The American Cancer Society says women ages 45-54 with an average risk level should get a yearly mammogram. Starting at age 55, mammograms can be performed every 2 years. Continue them as long as you’re in good health.
Another important thing to note is that many other benign conditions could be the cause of these symptoms. For example, changes to the skin texture on the breast may be caused by a skin condition like eczema, and swollen lymph nodes may be caused by an infection in the breast or another, unrelated illness. If in doubt, always see a doctor for professional evaluation whether the changes you noticed are a matter of concern.
Most importantly, every woman should check their own breasts once a month as part of a monthly health routine. You should always be aware of any changes that happen to your breast and nipples, and seek medical attention immediately before it’s too late.
And many people on Twitter are now sharing the signs of breast cancer and raising awareness
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