What are some of the classic signs of breast cancer?
Posted September 25, 2017
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we ask Dr. Antimarino: What are some of the classic signs of breast cancer? Are breast self-exams still considered an important part of maintaining breast health?
Dr. Antimarino responds:
According to statistics, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is nearly double if she has a direct relative (mother, sister, daughter) although 85% of those women who are diagnosed have had no previous family history.
Self-breast exams continue to be a helpful tool in the battle against breast cancer. Women should be aware of what their body looks and feels like so they can note when a significant change has occurred. Some changes to be aware of include:
Changes in Appearance
Some of the signs you will want to be aware of when examining your breasts would include a change in appearance such as redness, pain, swelling, firmness or a mass. Not all changes in appearance indicate breast cancer, some changes may be evident of an infection that can be resolved with a course of antibiotics.
Unless you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an infection, any discharge coming from your nipple should be discussed with your physician. If you find a milky or bloody substance, make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough examination.
One Breast is Warm to Touch
Inflammatory breast cancer is rare but is usually noted with one breast feeling warmer to the touch than the other. It is important to watch for swelling and changes in color as well.
Lumps in the Armpit
Don’t forget to check under your armpits! If swelling or a lump is found it can actually be connected to your breast tissue.
A woman with implants should also be encouraged to take the same precautions with self-breast exams and routine mammograms.
Routine breast exams
Women should be encouraged to see their gynecologist for their yearly breast exam and to monitor overall breast health. Routine mammograms are essential in the early detection of breast cancer.