After skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women. It’s estimated that there will be 246,660 new breast cancer cases in the U.S. this year. Though the death rate from breast cancer has decreased in recent years, it remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women.
Breast cancer is often treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, there are currently 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Early detection remains one of the best ways to increase the odds of overcoming cancer.
That’s why it’s so important to know breast cancer symptoms. Knowing the symptoms can help you detect cancer sooner, which increases your chances of treating it. You should watch for a few of the most common breast cancer symptoms and consider contacting your primary care physician if you notice anything unusual.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
- New lumps in the breast or armpit
- Part of the breast swells or thickens
- Breast pain
- Change in breast size or shape
- Nipple discharge, excluding milk
- Red or flaky breast skin
- Irritation or dimpling of the breast skin
Don’t rely on symptoms alone
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate breast cancer. There can be other reasons for these symptoms, and you cannot tell whether or not you have breast cancer from how you look or feel. At the same time, a lack of symptoms does not mean an absence of breast cancer. Knowing the signs of breast cancer is valuable; however, it does not replace professional breast cancer screenings.
A person can have breast cancer without showing any symptoms, and screenings can detect cancer in people regardless of whether or not they have any signs or symptoms. Regular medical examinations and breast cancer screenings are crucial in detecting cancer early when it is most treatable. The Breast Center recommends that all women begin annual mammograms starting at age 40.