I Saw the Sign – Symptoms/Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by JayHawkPharmacyBlogger

In honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we at Jayhawk Pharmacy are dedicating our blog to a four-part series on breast cancer awareness.  As politician, Debbie Wasserman Schultz put it, “Every woman needs to know the facts.  And the fact is, when it comes to breast cancer, every woman is at risk.”  With a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer, and approximately 39,600 breast cancer-related deaths amongst females in the U.S last year, early detection is extremely important.    With early detection playing a crucial role in the battle against cancer, knowing the symptoms and warning signs of breast cancer can truly be life-saving. Most of the symptoms/warning signs, when present, are fairly straight forward and easy to spot if you know what to look for.  The second part of our four-part series will discuss some of the symptoms and warning signs of breast cancer.

A change in how the breast or nipple feels:
When it comes to changes in how the breast or nipple feels, there are a few things to watch out for.  These include the onset of nipple tenderness and/or a lump in the breast.  One should also pay attention to any changes in skin texture, which includes any enlargement of the pores.  As with most changes in one’s body, there can be many alternative explanations for any of these changes that do not include cancer.

A change in the breast or nipple appearance:
While on the lookout for changes in how the breast or nipple feels, one should also pay attention to any changes in appearance.  Things to be on the lookout for include:

  •           Any unexplained change in shape or size (i.e. shrinkage or swelling)
  •           Any recent asymmetry of the breasts
  •           Any discoloration of the breast, areola, or nipple
  •           Any change in the shape of the nipple (i.e. inverted or inward turning)

Any nipple discharge
The final thing to pay attention to would be any nipple discharge.  This is extremely important, especially if the discharge is clear or bloody, but also if it is milky when not breast feeding.

What should you do if any symptoms are noticed?
It is important to note that not all people show the same symptoms or in the same time frame.  If you notice any of these signs, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.  Early detection can truly be life-saving when it comes to breast cancer.

Join us next week as we discuss early detection and the importance of getting regular screenings.

*Source: American Cancer Society Report – Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2013-2014 http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/document/acspc-042725.pdf

*Source: Nationalbreastcancer.org – http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-symptoms-and-signs

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