Breast cancer is a scary thing that women and men are at risk for. Some though, are at a greater risk if they have a family history of breast cancer. However, knowing what to look for and getting regular exams is key in detecting cancer early and fighting it head-on! Sometimes symptoms aren't that obvious, like the photo below. Any and all changes in your breasts should be checked out by your doctor!
One almost indistinguishable symptom, as seen in the photo from British mom Claire Warner that went viral, is dimpling or puckering. It's so easy to miss, especially when you're simply getting dressed daily and not looking at yourself that closely. If you're not checking your breasts regularly, it's easy to miss many common symptoms!
2. Unusual Lumps
When you think of breast cancer symptoms, palpable lumps and bumps are what's common. And that's what your doctor is feeling for during an annual exam. You can check for lumps at home, although palpable lumps are an advanced symptom. And remember, not all lumps are cancerous and some naturally reside near and under your arms.
3. Nipple Sensitivity
The most common site for tumors is just below the nipple. Changes in appearance, such as inverted or recent lack of protrusion, as well as nipple sensitivity, are all signs of a cancerous tumor. Notice if they are sore to the touch or become crusty, which is a sign of cancer.
4. Red, Swollen Breasts
If your breasts are red, purple, swollen and feel hot (and you're not breastfeeding because that's a symptom of mastitis), you need to get checked out. Feverish breasts are a symptom of breast cancer.
5. Nipple Discharge
Unless you're breastfeeding, your nipples shouldn't leak fluid. Colostrum and breast milk are normal if you're breastfeeding or have recently stopped. Even a little bloody fluid is normal for a breastfeeding mom because of cracked and bleeding nipples. However, if you are not breastfeeding and your nipples have a bloody or clear fluid discharge, get checked out ASAP!
6. Breast Shape
It's important to notice if your breasts have recently changed shape. If one breast becomes larger or smaller than another, or the skin becomes rough and scaly like an orange peel, you need to be seen by a doctor. Asymmetry is normal - one breast is usually larger than the other. But if it's a recent change, it's something to be concerned about.
7. Breast Pain
Sore or sudden sharp pains radiating through your breasts are nothing to take lightly. It can also be described as a tingling pain. Of course, this can also be experienced during your menstrual cycle but take note if it seems unusual or is accompanied by other symptoms described above.
It's always important to be fully aware of your bodies and any changes they might undergo. Of course they change over time to some degree, but anything unusual is always a cause for concern. Remember to give yourself regular breast exams and make it a priority to see your doctor for your annual exam. It may not seem important if you're young, but it truly is!