Breast cancer isn’t the only thing that can affect breast health. In fact, there are many other breast conditions that aren’t breast cancer. While breast cancer is common – 1 in 8 women develop breast cancer – non-cancerous breast conditions are even more common. Non-cancerous, or benign, breast conditions shouldn’t be ignored, however.
Treatment isn’t always needed for benign breast conditions, but you should always talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your breasts. It’s difficult to determine whether or not you’re dealing with breast cancer or a benign condition, and some non-cancerous conditions can increase your risk for developing breast cancer later on.
Symptoms of breast conditions that aren’t cancer
Sometimes symptoms may seem like breast cancer even if the problem is benign. Your doctor will do an examination and may order tests to provide a diagnosis if you notice any of the following symptoms.
- nipple discharge that is not milk
- changes in size
- changes in the skin including texture, redness, or scaling
- skin irritation
- nipple retraction
What to do when you notice changes in your breasts
The Breast Center recommends annual screening mammograms for all women starting at age 40. This lines up with the recommendations of the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Research shows that mammography reduces the rate of death from breast cancer.Mammography is the only proven cancer screening method to reduce the rate of death from breast cancer. Click To Tweet
Some women are at a higher risk for breast cancer than others, however. If you have a non-cancerous breast condition that increases your risk for breast cancer, your doctor may recommend more frequent screening.
It’s important to talk to your doctor whenever you notice symptoms or changes in your breasts. Whether it’s breast cancer or a benign breast condition, identifying and addressing the issue early on can make all the difference in treatment. General guidelines are a good place to start, but your healthcare professional can help you establish a plan that best suits your individual needs. Talk to your primary care provider or meet with the breast health specialists at The Breast Center today.