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What Are the 5 Warning Signs of Breast Cancer?

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Every woman must stay aware and look for any early symptoms. Women over 40 must go for a screening once a year. They should also do regular self-examination to look for any symptoms. Thus, every woman needs to know the occurrence of these changes and when a sign can be a warning sign.

What is a Normal Breast?

A healthy pair of breasts include nipples and areolas. The Breast size varies in all women. Some might have a small size while some have a large size breast. It is important to note that breast shape and size can vary due to hormonal fluctuations. Pregnant women can have swollen breasts, while women who had their menopause can have saggy breasts. As women get older, their breasts start to sag.

Warning signs of breast cancer

Women must always look for warning signs of breast cancer. Sometimes we can not detect breast cancer early, but women above the age of 40 must-do regular self-examinations of their breasts. Following are some of the early signs of breast cancer in a woman:

1. Breast lump

Detecting a breast lump can be the first sign of detecting breast cancer. The presence of a breast lump indicates tumour formation inside the breast that needs immediate attention. Sometimes even cysts can develop in the breasts that will ultimately ripe a tumour. We can even find a breast lump under the armpit.

For self-examination, women must stand straight with their hands down the hip and feel their breasts in a slow circular motion. They can even lie down and touch the right breast with the left hand and vice versa. It helps in understanding the pattern of the breasts and detection of a lump if any.

2. Nipple discharge

If a breast or breasts discharge any liquid, blood or pus, it is a warning sign of a problem with the breast. If a woman is not pregnant and still produces milk, it can be a warning sign of breast cancer.

3. Nipple retraction

A healthy nipple points outwards. However, if a nipple pulls in, then it can be a warning sign. Even men must look for such warning signs where a nipple pulls in. These warning signs of breast cancer are common among men also.

4. Skin changes

Breast cancer may also show its symptoms like a warning on the skin. The skin around your breast and nipple may become flaky and red. Sometimes the outer layer of your breast can pain tremendously and become red and itchy. Some women also experience thickening of the skin around the breast. Pay attention to these signs of breast cancer.

However, there can be other conditions that may also result in such breast changes. If these signs appear daily or in quick succession, you must immediately plan your visit to an oncologist.

5. Change in shape or size

A change in breast size can also be a warning sign for breast cancer. The quick increase in breast size or the development of moles can be a warning sign. Women must always check for any changes in breast size.

When to see a physician?

If you notice any or all the above signs, then visit an oncologist at the earliest. If you consult a doctor soon, he can begin your treatment right away. However, every breast pain does not mean that you have breast cancer. There can be various other reasons for tenderness in the breasts.

Hormonal fluctuations are responsible for breast tenderness and can sometimes cause pain. Breast pain and tenderness are usual among pregnant women during their first trimester because of the increased levels of the hormone in their body.

If a person had a chest injury, breasts are likely to pain. In the case of women, a poorly fitted bra can be one of the leading reasons for breast pain. Women who wear a bra for 20 hours are likely to have pain in the whole area. Some women also experience slight pain while breastfeeding. If breast pain continues for a long time along with redness, lumps, etc., consult a doctor at the earliest.

Therefore, a basic knowledge of these warning signs is a must as it will help in the early detection of breast cancer. Even men must look for the warning signs as cancer affects men as well. Sometimes these warning signs can be a result of some other condition like the effect of a medication. It is the oncologist who will recognize the exact issue and guide you.

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