Breast cancer is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. The most common sign and symptom of breast cancer is a painful lump in the breast, indicating a tumor. Change in the appearance, shape, and size of the breast, formation of a breast lump or thickening of the breast, dimpling, redness, and itchiness in the surrounded skin or nipple skin, strangely inverted nipple, purple discoloration on the breast, and scaling, peeling, flaking, or crushing of the breast skin or areola are the common symptoms observed in the patients of breast cancer.
Signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer
The most common sign and symptom of breast cancer are a painful lump in the breast, indicating a tumor . However, most women have no obvious signs of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis. Instead, its early symptoms 1are detected by imaging. If the tumor is small in the early stages of breast cancer, it is barely noticeable to the touch or the naked eye. That’s why mammograms play an essential role.
Mammograms (low-dose X-rays of the breast) may help detect a tumor in the breast before it’s large enough to start causing symptoms and when the cancer is likely to be more easily treatable. Tumors might be as small as the tip of a pencil (1 mm) or as big as a lime (50 mm). Mammograms are designed to spot tumors on the smaller end of the spectrum when they cannot yet be seen or felt. According to the American Cancer Society, regular mammograms are the most reliable way to catch breast cancer early. But mammograms on their own can’t detect every case of breast cancer, so it’s essential to pay attention to changes in your breasts because you know your body best.
Breast Cancer symptoms and signs 2,3 are as follows:
- Change in the appearance, shape, and size of the breast
- Formation of a breast lump or thickening of the breast
- Dimpling, redness, and itchiness in the surrounded skin or nipple skin
- A strangely inverted nipple
- Purple discoloration on the breast
- Scaling, peeling, flaking, or crushing of the breast skin or areola
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- 2.Koo M, von W, Abel G, McPhail S, Rubin G, Lyratzopoulos G. Typical and atypical presenting symptoms of breast cancer and their associations with diagnostic intervals: Evidence from a national audit of cancer diagnosis. Cancer Epidemiol. 2017;48:140-146. doi:10.1016/j.canep.2017.04.010
- 3.Bonsu A, Ncama B. Recognizing and appraising symptoms of breast cancer as a reason for delayed presentation in Ghanaian women: A qualitative study. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0208773. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0208773