Most women diagnosed with breast cancers do not manifest any signs or symptoms, unfortunately. It is, therefore, necessary that a woman is keenly observant of her body and the changes she experiences. Below are the common signs and symptoms related to breast cancer:
- A hard lump or a condensing tissue in the breast or under the arm. A cancerous lump is usually painless and has an irregular shape. However, breast cancer lumps may also be soft, circular, or tender. It is important to check the other breast on the same area to make sure such is not a healthy occurrence
- Breast shape and size changes; a swelling is felt in a part of the entire breast, even without a distinct lump felt
- Painful breasts and/or nipple
- Sudden nipple discharges (other than milk)
- Skin irritation or changes such as redness, scaliness, dimpling, or puckering
- Change in nipple appearance such as inward retraction
Most commonly, breast cancer cells spread via the lymphatics. Accumulation of breast cancer cells in those areas can cause swelling. Swollen lymph nodes in those areas should be discussed with your doctor.
The signs and symptoms stated are not exclusive to breast cancer. If you happen to notice such sudden changes with no apparent reason, seek medical advice.
When the diagnosis confirms cancer, management of symptoms is an important component of cancer treatment. It is, therefore, necessary to report all the symptoms experienced.