Breast cancer does not usually showcase any symptoms, but one might experience a few early warning signs of the condition as the tumor grows. Understanding the symptoms is important to facilitate early diagnosis and timely treatment, so let’s look at the early signs of the disease:
- Presence of a lump in the underarm or breast
If a woman experiences a suspicious lump in their underarm or one of the breasts that does not go away even after her cycles, it could be the first sign of breast cancer. In most cases, the lumps are painless, but they might cause a prickly sensation or irritation over time. So, one must undergo a mammogram as these lumps are easily detected, often earlier than one can feel them.
- Swelling in the breast, collarbone, or the armpit
One should also look out for unexplained swelling in the collarbone, armpit, or the breast as an early warning sign of breast cancer. Swelling could indicate that cancer has reached across the lymph nodes of the affected area, and one might experience swelling before feeling a lump. So, it’s advisable to consult a doctor about the swelling, as it could be a symptom of aggressive inflammatory breast cancer.
- Tenderness or pain in the breasts
Usually, the lumps are painless. However, tenderness or slight pain in the breasts could also be a symptom of cancer.
- Indented or flat area around the breast
This could be caused by a tumor that one might not be able to feel or see.
- Changes in the appearance of the breast
People with breast cancer often experience a change in the texture, color, contour, or the size of the breasts. At times, the temperature of the breasts might also change. If there is a pitted red surface, it would be a warning sign of breast cancer that should not be overlooked.
- Changes in the appearance of the nipple
As a result of breast cancer, the nipple might either be inverted, develop sores, burn, itch, or get dimpled.
- Discharge from the nipples
At times, one might also experience an abnormal discharge from the nipples. It could either be bloody, clear, or of any other hue. Though this symptom primarily indicates other benign conditions, it might be a sign of breast cancer as well.
- Hardened area around the breasts
If one tries pressing their breasts and feels a hardened area around or under a breast, it could point to an early warning sign of breast cancer. Usually, the particular area would feel unlike the other parts around the breasts.
So, it is recommended that one seek help if there’s a development of a lump or prolonged itchiness or pain is experienced in either one or sometimes both breasts.