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Breast Cancer: Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of breast cancer vary widely. Some women experience symptoms of breast cancer, while others don’t. Many times, the cause of breast cancer symptoms or discomfort could be due to a different underlying medical condition.

breast cancer signs and symptoms

Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms 

  • A lump in the breast or underarm that feels like a knot
  • Irritation of the skin on the breast
  • Changes in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • Dimpling in the breast or retraction of the nipple
  • Discharge of fluid or blood from the breasts that is not milk, either from one or both breasts
  • Inwardly turned nipple
  • Swelling in one or both breasts
  • Persistent pain in the breast
  • Changes in the texture of the skin

If you find one or more symptoms or anything that is unusual, you must visit your doctor to get it diagnosed.

Screening and Prevention for Breast Cancer

Screening

Screening for breast cancer helps you to diagnose cancer early, and as a result, it is easier to treat. Apart from breast self-exam, there are other screening techniques.

  • Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast; it’s the best way to find breast cancer early.
  • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. MRI is used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
  • Clinical Breast Exam: A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or a nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps and other changes.
  • Breast Self-Awareness: If you are familiar with how your breasts look and feel, it can help you notice any changes such as lumps or pain that may be of concern.

Prevention

Preventing breast cancer is better than curing it. While a certain percentage of women are in the high-risk category, specific lifestyle changes can help prevent breast cancer in those women as well.

Here are 7 preventive measures for breast cancer

  1. Reduce/limit alcohol consumption to one drink or less a day
  2. Reduce or quit smoking
  3. Lose extra pounds
  4. Increase your physical activity, get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week
  5. Breastfeed your children; the longer you breastfeed, the lower your chances of  breast cancer
  6. Restrict the use of hormone therapy
  7. Switch to a plant-based diet, with a lot of raw greens; these are rich in antioxidants and help prevent many types of cancer
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