Breast cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer there is, so if you suspect there’s something wrong, don’t panic. Checking your breasts to monitor their health is an important part of preventing the spread of cancer if you do have it.
Maintaining good breast health is vital to your well-being and could save your life. But how do you know when it’s time to visit the breast clinic? Keep reading for 5 signs you may need to make that trip.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of breast cancer checks, the first thing we want to say is, don’t panic. If you realize that you have one or more symptoms that could point to breast cancer, try not to worry too much.
There are many reasons why there might be changes in a woman’s breast tissue, and the answer is not always cancer. But if you find that breast cancer is the culprit, this type of cancer is very well-researched and common.
Make sure you keep an eye on your breasts, regularly examining them for any lumps or abnormalities. If breast cancer is caught early, more than 90% of sufferers live on for at least 5 years or longer after diagnosis and treatment.
1. You Feel a Lump
The first thing to check for when checking your breasts is a lump. A lump may not be visible to the naked eye, so it’s important that you feel your breasts, and see if a lump has developed without you noticing it.
Cancerous lumps often tend to be a weird shape, rather than perfectly round or oval. They are generally fairly firm or a little hard, whereas fatty tissue and cysts tend to be soft and malleable.
Breast lumps also tend to be fixed in one place, attached to the tissue in your breasts, rather than moving about under the skin. Still, if you feel a lump, it’s important you head to a breast cancer clinic and get it checked out.
2. Your Breasts Look Different
Let’s face it, not all our breasts look like everyone else’s. Your breasts could be asymmetrical, your nipples might be a different size or shape, and they aren’t like the breasts in the media. Thank goodness! How boring would it be if everyone looked the same? Check your breasts throughout the month to become familiar with what they look like during different parts of your cycle.
If your breasts start to look different than usual, you need to take note. Perhaps one of your breasts looks more swollen than usual, or it’s changed shape. In either case, you’ll need to visit the breast cancer clinic.
While suddenly uneven or swollen breasts could signal a number of different, non-cancerous conditions, it could also signal cancer. So, if you notice that something about your breasts looks different than YOUR normal, you should make an appointment.
3. Your Nipples are Leaking
If you’re a breastfeeding mother or ever have been, you’ll know how rewarding it is to nurture your baby with natural, nourishing breast milk. There’s a reason women have breasts after all!
But if your nipples start leaking at any other time than when you’re nursing, this is a definite sign that you’ll need to pay a visit to the breast clinic. There are a number of reasons you might get nipple discharge, and it’s actually normal for many people to occasionally have a little nipple discharge.
However, if nipple discharge isn’t a normal occurrence for you, or there’s a change in the discharge, it’s a good idea to get it checked out. Something to look out for are discharge from either one of your nipples that are bloody, smelly, or heavier than usual.
4. Your Breasts are Red or Sore
Red or sore breasts are not always related to cancer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Redness in the breast area is usually down to an infection, but in some people, it can also be a sign of breast cancer.
Another sign that you may need to visit the breast clinic is if the skin on your breasts begins to change. It might begin to pucker, become hard or thick, or feel different than how it usually does.
Maybe you’ve noticed that it looks like you’ve got cellulite in your breasts — that telltale orange-peel texture could actually be indicative of breast cancer. And if you notice a rash developing on your breasts, you should definitely get it seen by a doctor.
Pain in the breasts is often not a sign of breast cancer. However, in some cases, it can be the result of a different factor or symptom related to cancer. So, if you experience breast pain, it’s still worth getting a second opinion.
5. There’s a Rash, Crust, or Change in Your Nipples
Your nipples can seem to have a mind of their own sometimes, flattening out one minute and then going hard as bullets at the first hint of cold. However willful they are, if your nipples start to go off-script you may have a problem.
Nipples that change position on your breast, or pucker inwards instead of out, can be a cause for concern. And if your nipple feels different than usual, that’s another sign that something might be amiss.
A red scaly rash around the nipples, or a crust forming at the site, are both abnormal changes to breast tissue. Regular monitoring of your nipples should be part of your ongoing breast cancer checks.
Do You Need to Go to the Breast Clinic?
Check your breasts regularly. If you notice a lump, rash, redness, or change in breast tissue or nipples, then it’s imperative you go visit the breast clinic. While it’s very possible that cancer isn’t the cause, early detection of breast cancer can lead to a far better prognosis and survival rate.
Breast cancer is very real and is a threat facing more and more women today. But there are clear signs of early symptoms that you can keep an eye out for- 5 signs in fact.
If it’s time for you to visit the breast clinic, you might have questions like what happens in a breast biopsy, or what to expect in a breast ultrasound. If you’re nervous and want some guidance, please contact us and see how we can help.