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Breast cancer symptoms

Woman having mammogram test

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One of the first symptoms of breast cancer for many women as a lump in their breast, 90% of these lumps are benign – this means they are not cancerous.

The majority of benign breast lumps are:

• cysts or sacks of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common

• fibroadenoma – collection of fibrous glandular tissue, commonly found in young women

• areas of breast cell changes, this causes lumpiness that is more obvious just before a period. This is commonly affects women over the age of 35.

What to look for?

These are the possible changes but could be due to a breast cancer:

• a lump or thickening in the area of the breast

• a change in the size or shape of a breast

• dimpling in the skin

• a change to the shape of your nipple particularly if it turns in, sinks or has an irregular shape

• a rash on a nipple or surrounding area

• a swelling or lump in your arm pit

• a blood stained discharge from the nipple

Just like the breast lumps, these signs don’t necessarily mean you have cancer. The symptoms listed above you to other medical conditions, if you experience any of these you should see your GP to put your mind at rest. If it does turn out to cancer then you have the best chance of successful treatment by seeing your doctor early on.

Another type of cancer known as Paget’s disease is a rare, this shows up as a rash on and around the nipple. It can be itchy and red can be mistaken for eczema.

What to do if you find a lump

If you notice anything unusual about your breasts you should see your doctor immediately, although most lumps are benign they will need to be examined to rule out cancer. If necessary your doctor will send you to a specialist breast clinic for further checks.

They will use a mammogram or an ultrasound to determine if it is cancer. If the lump is just assess the doctor will drain the fluid out through a fine needle. If the length is a solid lump, they will stick a fine needle into it and take tissue samples to test the cancer cells.

The majority of women preferred to have benign lumps removed, this stops them from worrying that it may be, or may develop into cancer.

Breast pain

Pain in the breast is very common and not usually due to cancer. There are many healthy women who suffer with lumpy and painful breasts just before a period. Most breast pain is not due to cancer, but some cancers due cause pain, so if you’re worried to your GP.





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