First Signs of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the causes of high mortality in women. To date, the success of the treatment of most cancers directly depends on timely diagnosis and, therefore, seeking medical care at a late stage leads to tragic consequences. Therefore, every woman and man needs to find the answer to the question: what does breast cancer look like? They should also know what early signs are indicative of breast cancer and who is at high risk of this disease.
Early Signs of Breast Cancer
Often at the beginning of the disease, there are little to no breast cancer symptoms for the woman to notice. Therefore, the appearance of the first pronounced symptoms may already indicate the active development of the disease. That is why every woman should have a regular self-examination. All you have to do is walk up to the mirror and take a close look at your chest. In most cases, the following signs can be seen:
- unjustifiably increased or decreased breasts;
- changes in the area of the nipple or areola: erosions, retracted nipples, and discharge from the nipple that is not related to pregnancy and lactation;
- skin changes similar to “lemon crust”;
- painless dense formation or thickened area in the breast, which can be felt by hand.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Women
The expression of the signs of breast cancer depends largely on the form of the disease. A distinction is made between a non-invasive form, i.e. without the tumor sprouting into the surrounding tissues (carcinoma) and an invasive form. Carcinoma is usually easier to treat because the tumor does not affect the surrounding organs and tissues, but is located in the lobules or ducts of the chest.
Invasive forms are common in later stages of cancer and are more difficult to treat because they are embedded in adjacent tissues. The signs also depend on the stage of breast cancer, the prevalence of metastases, etc. Conditionally, the signs of breast cancer can be divided into external and internal.
The shape, size, chest shape and nipple may change with oncosis. Redness of the skin is possible; it can also get a wrinkled appearance or an effect of “lemon peel.” Sometimes there is peeling and burning of the skin.
External manifestations of cancer may also include pain and discomfort in the breast, increased axillary lymph catches, and the appearance of swelling at the armpit and shoulder. These signs can be manifestations of other breast diseases or allergies; a reliable diagnosis can be made only by a mammologist after a thorough examination of the patient.
One of the first manifestations of the disease is the presence of a breast cancer lump. In the initial stages, it is usually small and does not cause painful sensations. However, that may change. This is where you get an answer to the question “is breast cancer painful” – sometimes it is. Over time, this small lump begins to grow in size, and if you try to touch it, a woman feels pain.
Most often, the presence of a formation in the chest is evidence of mastopathy, but for an accurate diagnosis and prescription of treatment, you need to visit a doctor. The mammologist will carry out a visual examination and palpation of the breast, and if necessary, prescribe an additional examination. For early diagnosis, an ultrasound of the mammary glands is used, as well as a mammography (glands X-ray), and a histological examination of cells derived from the formation by biopsy.
If you have any doubts about whether or not you have any signs of the disease, don’t Google “do I have breast cancer” – contact a specialist immediately and have yourself a medical examination. In terms of breast cancer and cancer at all, it is better safe than sorry.
Who Could Get Breast Cancer?
The main factors of the disease are hereditary, features of the reproductive system, and concomitant health disorders. By the way, the condition of the mammary glands is directly related to the hormonal background of a woman. In turn, the hormonal balance of the body depends on lifestyle, bad habits, stress, ecology, etc.
Reproductive Health of Women
It is believed that women with early (under 9) menstruation and late (after 55) menopause are more likely to have breast cancer. The risk of getting sick increases if a woman has not had a pregnancy during her lifetime or if the first one was terminated by an abortion. Breastfeeding failure and the first pregnancy in a woman’s 30s may also affect the development of cancer.
It has been established that breast cancer is hereditary. If the mother, aunt, sister, or another close relative of the woman had this type of cancer, the probability of her having a malignant tumor increases several times. In this case, it is a matter of carrying specific genes responsible for the development of this type of cancer. But a hereditary predisposition does not necessarily lead to a disease. In addition, breast cancer can also develop in the absence of these genes.
The probability of developing diseases increases in women during menopause, especially ones related to diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, or hypertension. Elderly obese women are often vulnerable to developing breast cancer.
Various pathologies of the mammary glands (fibroadenoma, mastopathy) are called precancerous conditions, as they significantly increase the risk of disease. If a woman has previously had breast cancer, we cannot rule out the possibility that a malignant tumor will also occur in the other breast.
Impact of External Factors
Prolonged exposure to radiation increases the risk of cancer in subsequent years. Even a minor breast injury can remind us after a considerable period of time of a tumor formation. Topless tanning can also provoke disease. It is believed that prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives (up to 10 years and more), their use at the age of 40, and hormone replacement therapy during menopause may also affect the health of women’s breasts.
Often a woman is unable to address many of these causes and thus is more likely to become ill. At the same time, it must be remembered that an adverse reproductive history or breast injury does not always lead to a malignant tumor, but only slightly increases the risk of disease. Therefore, it is important for every woman to take care of her own health and to contact specialists in time if there is the slightest suspicion of illness because then the cancer will not be a sentence.
However, if you or your loved one is already facing this terrible disease, to ease the pain and to ensure the patient’s comfort in life, contact All American Hospice. Our well-trained specialists have much experience dealing with breast cancer consequences and will do everything to keep the life of a patient pain-free and comfortable.