India is witnessing more and more women getting diagnosed with breast cancer. Each year, around 1.44 lakh women in India are diagnosed with breast cancer (Indian Council Of Medical Research). No matter what religion, gender or age, cases of this type of cancer are everywhere.
According to current data provided by CORE Diagnostics and Cytecare Cancer Hospitals, Bangalore, one out of 22 women in India develops breast cancer; and one out of two dies because of the disease.
What’s even more alarming is that breast cancer is non-existent for majority of the population – until a near and dear one suffers or dies from it. The number of regular breast screenings are also low across the country and this also includes big cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore.
According to our breast cancer expert Dr. Sreehari K Pillai MD, MRCP, breast cancer starts developing in the body about three to five years before it becomes symptomatic. Therefore, it is necessary to do a self-examination of the breasts on a monthly basis – just to be on the safer side.
While there are many health apps to guide through self-examination, most women are not able to pinpoint the symptoms. And yes, breast cancer doesn’t always show up as a lump. Here is a list of seven symptoms every woman should be aware of, including you:
1) Skin irritation
Ill fitting bra, heat, insect bite and dermatitis are some of the reasons why your skin could feel irritated or develop a rash. Notice an unexplained redness in the bosom area or feel your breasts have swelled up? Check with your doctor if the problem persists for a longer period of time.
Similarly, if you notice itching or crusting of the nipple or around the area, seek professional assistance at the earliest. The redness may be the result of an insect bug but at least you will be in the safe zone.
2) Nipple change
Unlike breasts, nipples don’t usually change shape, colour or size – unless of course you are pregnant. However, it is a matter of concern if your nipple goes inward instead of pointing out or generally changes its colour or size.
Don’t delay and get yourself screened for breast cancer so that the problem – whatever it is – can be detected quickly.
3) Nipple discharge
Unless you are breastfeeding or are pregnant, you have nothing to worry about. But if your nipple is discharging liquids in greenish or yellow colour, or even blood – it could be symptom of breast cancer. Such a cancerous discharge is usually spontaneous. If that happens with you, go to the hospital and get yourself screened.
Freckles look great on the face but if you notice dark marks or unusual freckling on the skin around bosom, don’t visit a dermatologist; instead seek a breast cancer expert’s advice. Freckles are typically symptoms of an aggressive form of breast cancer – also called ‘inflammatory breast cancer’.
If you seek a freckle joined by more of them, get yourself screened for breast cancer immediately.
5) Armpit swelling
Swelling or lumps around your collarbone or armpit area may be caused by breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in those areas. Such type of swelling is a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer and requires immediate medical intervention.
6) Breast tenderness
This is quite common among women – during their menstrual cycle. Breast swelling or tenderness is even a sign of early pregnancy. However, this is the reason why most of the time women overlook it as a symptom of breast cancer.
If one breast of yours is bigger (read: swollen or enlarged) than the other, you will want to get it checked. The swelling up or tenderness of the breasts simply suggests a lump underneath the surface.
7) Breast skin texture
While feeling a lump or experiencing tenderness or irritation on the breasts may come under most women’s radar; change in the skin texture of the breasts is something to watch out for as well.
Breast cancer can turn a smooth and soft skin into a reddish, pitted surface – similar to the skin of an orange. This happens due to cancer cells blocking the small lymph ducts inside the breast, causing fluids to accumulate.
Get yourself checked asap if this happens.
Check this out…
Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization shared this stunning imagery in 2017 to spread awareness about the disease. Have a look:
Our expert team at Brexa advises every woman, above 20 years of age, to conduct a monthly breast self-examination. This would help in understanding the normal nature of the breasts. In case of any unusual findings, one can seek doctor’s opinion faster and free yourself from the worry and discomfort.
Remember: Prevention is ‘always’ better than cure. Don’t forget to download Brexa for free here.