By Emma Breslin
Breast cancer can be a scary thing that many individuals have to face, but being aware of the early warning signs can help to catch it early.
It is essential that any abnormalities of the breasts are monitored. The ability to look out for these early warning signs enables individuals to seek the right treatment as soon as possible.
According to date from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2.3 million women across the globe received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2020. It is often assumed that only women can have breast cancer, but men can get breast cancer too.
In the United Kingdom, there are about 55,500 new cases of breast cancer in women, and approximately 370 in men, according to Cancer Research UK data.
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but it is also one of the most treatable. There are many different types of breast cancers that affect patients in different ways.
When most people think of breast cancer symptoms, they think of a lump in the breast. It is perhaps the most frequently talked about symptom. This is one of the possible warning signs of breast cancer, but it is not the only one.
Some other common warning signs of breast cancer are:
Although these symptoms may result in a cancer diagnosis, they are often also results of ‘benign breast conditions.’ These symptoms can display in individuals due to a variety of different external factors. Therefore, it is important to understand what symptoms can be products of both cancerous and benign breast conditions.
Just because breasts are lumpy does not mean that a person has cancer – breast tissue ‘is often lumpy in texture.’ However, if a person notices a lump they should see the doctor if they see or feel:
Some of the benign conditions that involve the presence of lumps include:
In addition, the breasts are typically affected by different life stages, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. These life stages can all cause significant changes in the breasts as the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in the body vary.
Understanding the anatomy of the breast is important for gaining an insight into what breast cancer is and how it forms.
A female breast consists of:
If breast cancer enters the lymphatic or vascular system then it can travel throughout the body, which increases the chance of cancer spreading or returning. The lymph nodes that make up the lymphatic system are the first place where breast cancer is likely to spread.
Being well informed about the possible warning signs of breast cancer is important for an individual to receive the best possible treatment quickly. Not ignoring such symptoms, even if they are benign, is important.
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