Mammography screening has become a part of regular health checkups in most countries around the world. Hence, breast cancer is detected at an early stage now.
However, if a regular mammography is not a part of your healthcare routine, then you must ensure that you are aware of the symptoms of breast cancer.
Many a time, women are caught unaware and are surprised when they are detected with the disease because of how asymptomatic the early stages of cancer can be.
Especially because most of them feel that a lump in the breast is the only symptom. But that’s not the case. Most of the other symptoms are too feeble or too mild to be noticed.
Here are seven of them.
#1 – A retracting Nipple
One of the least known symptoms is a nipple that starts to point inwards as the cancer cells grow and target the milk duct that is positioned behind the nipple. While there are many other conditions that can also cause a retracting nipple, breast cancer is one of them. If you notice the nipple retracting, then seek emergency medical attention.
#2 – The Armpit Lump
The lymph nodes under the armpit get swollen whenever there is any infection in the body. Most of the time, it might be a mild infection that will heal by itself in a few days. But, there is also a possibility that it might be a malignant cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. Many a time, persistent under arm swelling might be the first symptom of cancer that appears even before the infamous lump in the breast.
#3 – A rash on the breast
Most women would dismiss a rash on the breast as an allergic reaction to food or clothing or a cosmetic product. But at times, even breast cancer can cause a rash that can run across one or both breasts. It looks like a row of tiny boils and can be red and inflamed.
#4 – Swollen or tender breasts
Any swelling, redness, tenderness and even localized pain on the breasts should not be ignored. The common misconception is that breast cancer can never cause pain. That’s not the case. There can be mild to severe pain. Sometimes, there can even be a change in the shape or coloration of the breasts.
#5 – Nipple Discharge
Breast cancer can cause a thick discharge from the nipple. Just like nipple retraction, the discharge often begins suddenly and continues for a while. It can even occur when the breast is not touched or disturbed. It can be green like pus or even clear white and may occur in one or both breasts.
#6 – Lump in the breast
The lump in the breast may not be a huge lump at all until the cancer progresses to advanced stages. It might just be a small lump of tissues, sometimes even the size of a quarter. However, even ordinary hardened skin must be thoroughly checked and investigated to rule out the possibility of something untoward.
#7 – Thickening of the nipple
There can be multiple changes in the texture of the skin around the nipple in the early stages of cancer. It can thicken, can look puckered or even itch severely. Show a healthcare professional immediately.