What Are the Warning Signs of Breast Cancer?

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🎗 Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women, and the second main cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

🎗Advances in screening and treatment have improved survival rates dramatically since 1989. There are around 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States (U.S.). The chance of any woman dying from breast cancer is around 1 in 37 or 2.7 percent.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer can include:

🔄a change in size or shape

🔄a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast

🔄a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)

redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple

🔄your nipple has become pulled in or looks different, for example changed its position or shape

🔄liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing

🔄pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time

🔄a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone

🔄Many symptoms of breast cancer, such as breast pain or a lump, may in fact be caused by normal breast changes or a benign (not cancer) breast condition. However, if you notice a change, it’s important to see your GP (local doctor) as soon as you can.

🎗Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast. A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

🎗Cells in the breast sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. These changes may lead to non-cancerous (benign) breast conditions such as atypical hyperplasia and cysts. They can also lead to non-cancerous tumours such as intraductal papillomas.

🎗But in some cases, changes to breast cells can cause breast cancer. Most often, breast cancer starts in cells that line the ducts, which are the tubes that carry milk from the glands to the nipple. This type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma.

🎗Cancer can also start in the cells of the lobules, which are the groups of glands that make milk. This type of cancer is called lobular carcinoma. Both ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma can be in situ, which means that the cancer is still where it started and has not grown into surrounding tissues. They can also be invasive, which means they have grown into surrounding tissues.

🎗 Less common types of breast cancer can also develop. These include inflammatory breast cancer, Paget disease of the breast and triple negative breast cancer. Rare types of breast cancer include non-Hodgkin lymphoma and soft tissue sarcoma.

🎗Some people think that having breast cancer will cause other symptoms apart from a breast change, such as feeling tired, having less energy or weight loss, but this is not the case. If you notice a change, even if you feel well, it’s important to visit your GP.

🎗Most breast changes will not be cancer. However, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK so it is important that you find out what’s causing the change.

🎗If your GP is male and you don’t feel comfortable going to see him, you can ask if there’s a female doctor available. You can also ask for a female nurse or member of staff to be present during your examination, or you can take a friend or relative with you.

🎗When your GP examines your breasts they may feel that there is no need for further investigation, they may ask to see you again after a short  time or they may refer you to a breast clinic. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have breast cancer, just that further tests are needed to find out what is going on.

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