Headlines & Helpful Information
By: Amanda DeBard
Susan G. Komen has suggested
that healthy women of average breast cancer risk who do not have signs of breast cancer delay their annual mammograms
that were scheduled for this spring. The recommendation is intended to minimize
exposure to and potential spreading of COVID-19 and allow the health care
system to focus on treating those in most need of support during this pandemic.
But it is equally important for all women – and men – to
know what’s normal for them, understand the warning signs of
breast cancer and contact a doctor if something changes. While a lump in
the breast is the most common sign that medical attention is needed, there are
many other signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
If you notice a change in your breast, contact your doctor
Here are 8 warning signs you should be aware of:
1. A lump, hard knot or thickening inside
the breast or underarm area.
Not all lumps are cancer, but all need to
be checked. Also did you
know, you could also have a hard knot or thickening inside the breast or
underarm area? If this happens, see your doctor.
2. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of
It’s easy to write off color
variations as a simple skin irritation or a mystery bruise. But if it doesn’t
go away in the normal amount of time, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of
something more serious. An area that’s puffy, painful or hot to the touch is
often associated with injury or infection. But in your breasts, these can be signs
of inflammatory breast cancer. Although
it’s rare, it’s aggressive, so if you’re feeling the heat, get it looked at
3. Change in the size or shape of the breast
Suddenly feeling lopsided,
skewed, or uneven? It might not be your imagination. If you don’t normally have
different sized or shaped breasts (many women do) see your doctor.
4. Dimpling or puckering of the
A change in the texture of the
skin, of the breast, or nipple can also be a sign that something is amiss; see
a doctor sooner rather than later.
5. Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the
Unless you’re an ultra-marathon
runner, chapped nipples should not be in your repertoire. So, if you’re experiencing
irritation, itching, oozing, flaking or scaling skin in one breast and not the
other, it’s probably something else. It could be common eczema or an infection
of the milk ducts. If it doesn’t resolve itself in a few weeks, see your doctor.
6. Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
women have retracted nipples, so it’s normal that their nipples pull in. We are suggesting any CHANGE should be
7. Nipple discharge that starts
For anyone other than nursing
mothers, leaking nipples are disconcerting, but it’s rarely a sign of breast
cancer. It can be an abscess, a hormonal imbalance, fibrocystic change or some
other condition that can be treated. However, if it happens spontaneously
without squeezing the nipple, and the discharge appears bloody or clear instead
of milky, or occurs in only one breast, it’s something to investigate. Don’t
panic, chances are it’s benign, but don’t put it off either.
8. New pain in one spot that
doesn’t go away
Many women have painful breasts
a week or so before their periods, but this is different. It doesn’t go away
once your cycle begins. And while breast pain is more common with benign breast
conditions than with breast cancer, the only way to know for sure is to get it
checked by a doctor.
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