Roughly one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives, and health professionals expect over 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer in 2016. While breast cancer rates have declined significantly in the last two decades, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (next to skin cancer) and kills more women than all cancers, excepting lung cancer, according to BreastCancer.org.
Early intervention is essential to increasing chances or survival. WebMD recommends that you check for these possible warning signs the next time you do your regular breast exam:
1. Lump in the breast or under the arm
According to BreastCancer.org, you should pay special attention to lumps that do not hurt, feel hard and have uneven edges. However, any unusual lumps and tenderness in the underarm or breast area should be examined by a doctor.
2. Unusual swelling under the arm
During your monthly exam, take time to feel carefully under your arm for any areas that feel unusually swollen.
3. Dimpled skin
Look for dimpling of the skin over the breast, or general skin irritation.
4. Changes in the skin around the nipple
Look for changing colors, shapes or textures in the skin around your nipple, as this could indicate the presence of cancerous cells. Changes in skin pigmentation are also common in skin cancers.
5. Unusual swelling of one breast
It’s normal to have breasts that aren’t exactly even Steven, but any unusual swelling should be examined.
6. Gland enlargement
Enlarged glands in the breast or around the underarms could indicate cancer or another type of infection and should be examined by your doctor.
According to Mayo Clinic, three other symptoms to look for include:
7. Blood or other unusual discharge from nipple
8. A newly inverted nipple
9. Redness or pitting of the skin near the breast (similar to that of skin of orange)
The symptoms listed above may also indicate a cyst or other less-serious conditions; however, it is important to discuss any unusual symptoms with your doctor. Regularly examining your breasts is a simple way to catch changes in your body as soon as they happen. You are also more likely to notice the changes if you are already familiar with what your body should feel like.