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What are the Early Signs of Breast Cancer?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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Early signs of breast cancer include a hard lump near the breast or armpit, a change in the appearance of the breast or nipple, and discharge from the nipple. While these symptoms are some of the more common ones that a person might experience, they are not always early signs of breast cancer. In fact, a person might not have any symptoms at all. Mammograms can detect breast cancer if there are no symptoms.

The formation of a hard lump is probably one of the most common signs of breast cancer. This lump, which is usually not painful, might change the shape and size of the affected breast. Another visual change includes dimpling and puckering of the breast or nipple, similar to the skin of an orange. The nipple itself might retract or become itchy or scaly. In addition, the nipple might secrete discharge that can range from clear to bloody in appearance.

There are many stages of breast cancer. A person who does not experience any of the early signs of breast cancer might suffer from advanced signs, such as bone or breast pain, as the cancer progresses through the body. Although the majority of people who get breast cancer are women, men can be affected by the illness as well. In men, breast cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages, as early signs of breast cancer may go ignored.

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Early detection of breast cancer is definitely possible. Breast self-examinations, clinical examinations and mammograms are ways in which a person might discover she has breast cancer. Depending on a person’s age and medical history, the frequency of scheduling and undergoing each method of detection might vary. A person with high risk factors should keep regularly scheduled visits with her doctor.

Some risk factors cannot be helped. These risk factors include age, gender and medical history. An older person has a higher risk of developing breast cancer than a younger one. A woman is also more apt to acquire the illness than a man. In addition, a person with a family history of breast cancer holds a greater risk as well.

There are various other risk factors that a person should be aware of when it comes to developing breast cancer. For instance, a woman is at an increased risk if she has never given birth or first gives birth after 30 years of age. Other risk factors include alcohol, radiation and obesity.

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Rotergirl
Post 2

My mom found her lump when she had breast cancer. She immediately got it checked out and they staged her cancer at IIB, which is still pretty early on in the process. She did monthly exams and just found it. It didn't show up well on the mammogram (this was over 20 years ago), but her doctor wanted her to have it removed, anyway. When she had her surgery, she said the surgeon called it as cancer the minute he removed it. She received treatment and remains cancer-free, thank the Lord!

Another friend and co-worker knew something was wrong for a while, but wouldn't go to the doctor. Turns out, she had aggressive inflammatory breast cancer, and lived just over a year after her diagnosis. It was very sad.

Pippinwhite
Post 1

Yes, men can get breast cancer! KISS drummer Peter Criss had it a few years ago. He said he noticed a painful lump after a workout and went to the doctor about it. The doctor said he thought it wasn't anything, but removed it, and it was cancer. His was caught early, so he was all right, but said he gets a mammogram every year.

That's just a cautionary tale about how important it is for men not to ignore a lump, painful or not, but to go ahead and get it checked out. This is especially true if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, male or female.

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