Breast cancer starts when there is an uncontrollable growth of breast cells which later accumulate and form a tumour. They can be often felt as a lump in the breasts. Females are usually the ones who are prone to this disease; however, men can get this cancer as well, as cells can accumulate in any part of the body or spread to other areas.
Breast cancer has become a common disease these days. It is due to the ill-effects of consumption of harmful substances and increasing pollution that several diseases are affecting the normal growth of the human body.
A female should know how her breasts look or feel as it provides a better chance of diagnosing breast cancer at an earlier stage and also procuring the best available treatment for the same. Regular screening tests or mammograms (an x-ray of breasts that looks for signs of breast cancer) should be taken to detect breast cancer at its early stage.
Symptoms of Breast cancer
Nipple Retraction and Discharge
When the nipple starts to retract (turns inward) there are chances of a tumour forming within the breasts which can also happen in males. If there is a little discharge of blood or any fluid (other than breast milk) from either of the nipples it is important to take tests as it is a clear symptom of breast cancer.
Sometimes under the arm or around the collar bone one witnesses swelling or a lump. Many a time, the lump appears in the armpit and not in breasts which is a sign of breast cancer. It sometimes leads to infections and allergies. Swollen lymph nodes should be immediately treated as there is a chance of them turning into a tumour leading to cancer.
Change of skin texture
In some cases, the colour of the skin starts changing and one feels an irritation or dimpling in the skin (appears like an orange peel in sometimes). Redness around the nipples is also a symptom of developing tumour.
Change in size and appearance
If there is a change in the size of breasts (enlargement or contraction in either breast), one should take necessary tests. Change is appearance is also troublesome, it should never be ignored.
Pain in the breasts
Pain in breasts during puberty is a natural phenomenon; many times there is a pain after periods, but unnecessary discomfort in breasts for a longer period of time could be a symptom of breast cancer.
The above-mentioned symptoms can be considered as early signs of breast cancer.
The later signs of breast cancer include
- Pain in the vagina
- Weight loss ( unintentional)
- Visible veins on the breasts
- Change in touch
- Irritation in the skin
Risk and Prevention
There is no certain risk factor which determines your chances of getting cancer, except the family history ( as it becomes easy to detect if there are traces of cancer in family history or gene changes). Early recognition of symptoms can also help in the prevention or control of cancer.
Detection and Diagnosis
Breast screening should be undertaken regularly after a certain period as it is important to detect cancer at an early stage. Symptoms should not be ignored or neglected, rather they should be taken seriously and immediate tests should be conducted.
Mammograms, breast ultrasound, MRI scans, newer and experimental breast imaging tests are some forms of diagnosis. The biopsy is the only sure way to detect breast cancer after mammograms, imaging tests, MRI scans and physical exams.
There are several types of breast cancers which can be treated on the basis of their stage and situations. Various types of treatment including chemotherapy, medical treatment, radiation, plastic surgery or breast surgery can be used.
It’s worth knowing that consulting a doctor while witnessing these symptoms at the right time can help in quick treatment which could prevent further harm.