Breast Cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer that occur in women. A less possibility, but even men can be affected by this. This cancer is a collection of cancer cells in the breast that grow and spread to distant areas of the body.
According to recent reports from the WHO, the incidence of breast cancer is on the rise. It is one of the most common cancers in urban areas in India accounting for 25% to 33% of all cancer in women. Within this, more than 50% of women are at stage 3 and 4 of breast cancer, leading to a lower survival rate.
A woman’s breast has lobules (milk-producing glands), ducts (tiny tubes that carry milk from lobules to the nipple) and stroma (fatty tissue and connective tissue surrounding the ducts and lobules). Breast Cancer originates from breast tissue, generally found in the inner layer of milk ducts or lobules. When cancer cells are found in the ducts, the condition is known as ductal cancer; when found in lobules it’s known as lobular cancer.
Breast cancer symptoms differ largely, from breast lumps to swelling. There are a lot many symptoms to recognize breast cancer but the best way to keep and lead a healthy worry-free life is to get examined time to time. Breast self-exam should remain a part of your monthly health check-up. There are a number of commercially available products that can assist one in determining the presence of tumors/cancerous tissues. Coupled with regular doctor visits and routine checkups, you can be assured of an early detection – the most critical part to ensuring that you survive cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptom #1 – Prickly, painful, or reddened breasts
Breast cancer can be recognized by a simple rash or itchiness truing into an inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammation in the breast can make your breast swollen and irritated or sore. The skin becomes red and is easily visible. It can be identified with dimpled or ‘orange peel’ skin in usual cases of breast cancer. The breast becomes bumpy and achy.
Breast cancer cells increase and block the blood vessels that feed the skin. This makes the breast swollen, red, itchy and achy.
Breast Cancer Symptom #2 – Upper Back Pain
Another symptom of breast cancer includes upper back pain. Spine specialists normally diagnose the presence of tumor because women experience back ache early than any other signs of breast cancer. The areas affected include the shoulder blades which may be confused with sore muscles or a ligament pain.
Breast cancer mostly expands in the glandular tissue of the breast which grows into the chest specifically against the chest wall. It may be a possibility that the tumor grows backwards affecting the ribs and spine which results in back pain rather than pain in the breast. Breast cancer also tends to spread to the ribs or spine that may lead to bone cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptom #3 – Nipple Changes
The most common location for the breast cancer to occur is beneath the nipple. This may lead to change in appearance as well as the feel of the nipple. Changes in the nipple are also very common in men with breast cancer. The nipple may appear inverted of flattened. Many women experience a decrease in sensitivity to touch or while having sex. Also the nipple tends to discharge even when you are not breastfeeding. It comes in the form of blood, milk or water. The skin around the nipple becomes hard, scaly and inflamed.
The tumor in the milk duct which is located behind the nipple, pushes the skin of the nipple up or aside, that makes the nipple retract. This tumor expands and makes the skin around the nipple scratchy and infectious.
Breast Cancer Symptom #4 – Change in size and appearance of one breast
Apart from hard lump in the breast, there are significant changes in the size, shape of the breasts. This may occur in both the breast but on mostly occurs in one breast where the tumor expands more quickly. The breast may become oval or ill-shaped; one breast may appear bigger than the other. This symptom of breast cancer can be easily identified or discovered by the tightening of your bra.
The tissue growth in the tumor becomes dense and can lead to form different shape of your breast. This can trigger the alarm that you might have breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptom #5 – Lump in the armpit
As breast cancer spreads through lymphatic fluids that drain from breast. This lymph node creates a lump in the armpit. This lump may feel swollen or tender or may even develop into a tumor, which may get bigger that it can be felt in the breast itself. Any pain in the armpit area is a clear sign that you need to get yourself examined.
The closest area to the breast is the lymph node in the armpit which may be affected by lymphatic fluids (Lymph is the fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system). As the tumor grows, lymph nodes in the armpit expand and form a lump that is painful and big.