Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer, with 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with it.
October is globally celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness month, and with good reason. According to WHO, it helps to increase attention and support for awareness, early detection, and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. There are around 1.8 million new cases of breast cancer around the world and about 458 000 deaths as a result. Breast cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, with 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with it. As per the American Cancer Society, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US in 2020.
As scary as these numbers can be, the good thing about this is that when breast cancer is detected early, it can be completely cured. Medical News Today released an infographic containing the nine most common signs and it was retweeted by user @TheOlajumoke. Here are the nine signs:
1. Lumps: The most recognized symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. Most women head to the doctor to get it checked out when they feel a lump on their breast, but there are other signs as well.
2. Nipple discharge: Though nipple discharge is a common symptom of breast cancer, many people, including mommies who are breastfeeding may ignore or look over this symptom. A person should seek medical care if they observe a thin or thick type of discharge that can vary in color from milky, to yellow, green, and red.
3. Dimpling: On certain occasions, skin dimpling can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. This is because cancer cells are known to cause a buildup of lymph fluid in the breast which causes swelling, dimpling, or pitted skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.
4. Breast or nipple pain: If one experiences unusual breast or nipple pain, it's advised they seek help from a doctor. Some women do experience pain around their nipples during menstruation, but it is always safer to consult a doctor.
5. Nipple retraction or inversion: This is when the nipple turns inward. The condition could be a result of inflammation or scarring of the tissue behind the nipple. This can be caused by numerous conditions, and breast cancer is one of them.
6. Redness: When you scratch your chest area, it is possible for some redness. It will fade over time, mostly in an hour or so. However, if you notice this redness for more than a day, seek medical advice immediately.
7. Changes in skin texture: You know how your skin is soft and supple around your nipple? Well, if there seems to be some change to that texture that has no connection to the weather or allergies, then it is a cause of concern.
8. Lymph node changes: If a cancer cell leaves the breast, the first place it travels to is the underarm lymph node region on the same side as the affected breast. This can lead to swelling in this area. The swelling may also be felt around the collarbone and these lumps are tender, firm, and small.
9. Swelling: As mentioned above, breast cancer may be the cause of a sudden swelling of the entire breast or an area of it. There may also be a distinct lump after this swelling. If anything feels out of the ordinary for you, head to your doctor immediately.