What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
While different people have different symptoms of breast cancerand some dont have any at allwarning signs of breast cancer include new lumps in the breast and armpit, swelling of the breast, redness or pain in the nipple region, or change in the breast size.
Remember that some of these symptoms are associated with other conditions that arent cancer.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
In The Shower Or Bath
It may be easier to check your breasts while youre in the shower or bath, as your hands are wet. This makes it easier to slide your hand over your breasts.
An easy way to check your breasts is to:
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Why Is It So Important To Check Your Breasts Regularly
Self-examination is a simple and entirely safe method of detecting changes in your breasts. It is important to do this regularly to be aware of your normal breasts and therefore to detect changes at an early stage. Early detection nearly always leads to less invasive treatments and better outcomes as cancer can be treated sooner.
In this blog we are going to show you how you can perform a breast self-examination you dont have to be an expert you just need to get to know your breasts and what your normal is.
Tests Are Used To Screen For Different Types Of Cancer When A Person Does Not Have Symptoms
Scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest harms and most benefits. Cancer screening trials also are meant to show whether early detection helps a person live longer or decreases a persons chance of dying from the disease. For some types of cancer, the chance of recovery is better if the disease is found and treated at an early stage.
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Does A Breast Self Exam Take Long
Some people believe that an exam like this takes a longer while to complete if you want to be thorough. The real truth is that it doesnt take longer than a few minutes when you know what youre doing.
The best part is that you dont even have to set time apart specifically to do it. Instead, you can simply do it while or after you take a shower, when youre getting dressed, or when youre getting ready to get in or out of bed.
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Many doctors have the training and experience to diagnose and treat many breast cancer types, from triple-negative, inflammatory and metastatic to luminal, HER2-positive or others.
In diagnosing inflammatory breast cancer and other breast cancer types and staging the disease, cancer experts use sophisticated diagnostic tools to locate the tumor and determine whether it has spread. Your care team may also test the tumor for specific genetic abnormalities or hormone sensitivities that suggest it may respond to targeted therapy or other personalized treatments.
If a lumpectomy, breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy is part of your breast cancer treatment plan, different cancer care providers may offer microsurgical and other reconstruction techniques. Further, your oncologist may help determine if you are the right fit or an ongoing clinical trial.
Tools used for diagnosing breast cancer include:
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How To Prepare For A Breast Self
The best time to do a breast self-exam is a few days after your monthly menstrual cycle ends. Hormonal changes can affect the size and feel of your breasts, so its best to perform the exam when your breasts are in their normal state.
Women who dont menstruate should choose a certain day to perform the exam, such as the first day of each month.
You should also keep a journal of your self-exams. This will help you track and record any changes you have noticed in your breasts.
Start by standing topless in front of a mirror with your hands at your sides.
Visually inspect your breasts for the following:
- changes in size, shape, or symmetry
- asymmetrical ridges at the bottom
Check for these signs with your hands at your sides. Then, with your arms over your head, and again when lifting one breast at a time.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month Marked In Countries Across The World Every October Helps To Increase Attention And Support For The Awareness Early Detection And Treatment Of This Disease
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, with one woman being diagnosed every 10 minutes and it is the leading cause of death in women under 50 years of age.1 A YouGov survey commissioned in October 2020 by the breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Now found that almost half of women in the UK do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer with one in 10 women having never checked their breasts for new or unusual changes. The survey asked women what prevents them from checking their breasts more regularly and almost half said they forget.2
As many breast cancers are found by women themselves3 through self-examination or by accident, it is very important to become breast aware and get into the habit of regularly checking your breasts, as the earlier breast cancer is found the better the treatment options are.
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Screening Vs Diagnostic Mammogram
The type of machine used and the process to get the first four images is the same for a screening or diagnostic mammogram. More images may need to be taken in a diagnostic mammogram to look at a specifici area more closely, and different types of tools may be used to compress the tissue in different ways.
Benefits & Potential Harms
Breast Cancer Screening Patient Version
On This Page
Screening is looking for signs of disease, such as breast cancer, before a person has symptoms. The goal of screening tests is to findcancer at an early stage when it can be treated and may be cured. Sometimes a screening test finds cancer that is very small or very slow growing. These cancers are unlikely to cause death or illness during the person’s lifetime.
Scientists are trying to better understand whichpeople are more likely to get certain types of cancer. For example, they look at the person’s age, their family history, and certain exposures during their lifetime. Thisinformation helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, whichscreening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarilythink you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screeningtests are done when you have no cancer symptoms. Women who have a strong family history or a personal history of cancer or other risk factors may also be offered genetic testing.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests, rather than screening tests.
See the following PDQ summary for more information about cancer screening:
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How Often Should You Examine Your Breasts
Adult women of all ages should have a breast examination at least once a month. Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation . Regular self-tests make you familiar with how your breasts look and feel, so that you can be aware of any changes.
It Can Be Scary To Find A Change That Doesnt Feel Or Look Normal But Its Important To Get Any Concerning Signs Checked Out By Your Gp Even If Youve Had A Mammogram Recently
Most breast changes arent caused by cancer but check with your doctor to be sure. If youve had a breast change checked out by your GP and they arent concerned but it continues to grow or change, its important to go back and have it checked again or seek a second opinion.
If youre not sure about talking to your GP, tell someone you trust, like a girlfriend or your mum. They can support you to see your GP. BCFNZ also has nurses available, who can give you free advice. Get in touch at 0800 226 8773
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Breast Cancer Awareness : How To Do A Self
You should be checking your breast for changes at least once a month, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
About 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump and get it checked out. Heres how to properly conduct a self-exam.
Its not a mammogram
A self-exam is useful, but remember, its not the same as a mammogram or other imaging that can detect cancer in its very earliest stages. For the most effective medical care, combine self-exams with regular doctors appointments and age- and health-appropriate cancer screenings.
Some signs to look for during your breast exam are nipple tenderness, lumps, thickening, changes in skin texture or enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast. Also examine your underarm area as the breast tissue spreads around your sides and armpits.
When lying down, your breast tissue will spread against the chest wall. Place a pillow under your shoulder and raise that arm above your head. Using the opposite hand, move the pads of your fingers around your breast, covering the entire area and armpit. Use light, medium and firm pressure. Check for nipple discharge and lumps, then repeat for the other side.
In front ofa mirror
In the shower
Hold one arm up and behind your head. Using your fingertips, check the entire breast and armpit area on that side by pressing down with light, medium and firm pressure. Look for lumps, thickening, a knot or any other changes.
Detection And Preventive Measures
- Talk to your physician about breast cancer screening. Screening mammograms can be an important tool to detect breast cancer early. Depending on your age and risk factors, your physician will recommend an appropriate screening strategy
- Avoid alcohol and get plenty of exercise. Alcohol intake, inactivity, and obesity increase the risk of breast cancer
- Seek medical advice promptly if you have breast pain, skin changes, nipple discharge, or masses
- Mammograms and other tests are available at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare . Please contact your Primary Care physician to discuss which test is best for you
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The Harms Of Mammography Include The Following:
False-positive test results can occur.
Screening test results may appear to be abnormal even though no cancer is present. A false-positive test result is usually followed by more tests , which also have risks.
When a breast biopsy result is abnormal, getting a second opinion from a different pathologist may confirm a correct breast cancer diagnosis.
Most abnormal test results turn out not to be cancer. False-positive results are more common in the following:
- Younger women .
- Women who have had previous breast biopsies.
- Women with a family history of breast cancer.
- Women who take hormones for menopause.
False-positive results are more likely the first time screening mammography is done than with later screenings. For every ten women who have a single mammogram, one will have a false-positive result. The chance of having a false-positive result goes up the more mammograms a woman has. Comparing a current mammogram with a past mammogram lowers the risk of a false-positive result.
The skill of the radiologist also can affect the chance of a false-positive result.
False-positive results can lead to extra testing and cause anxiety.
If a mammogram is abnormal, more tests may be done to diagnose cancer. Women can become anxious during the diagnostic testing. Even if it is a false-positive test and cancer is not diagnosed, the result can lead to anxiety anywhere from a few days to years later.
False-negative test results can delay diagnosis and treatment.
Why Are Self Exams Important
Not many people go to the doctor often to check their breasts, as they usually seem fine. Even if you do, not all early tests can discover underlying issues. By combining regular doctor visits with self-exams, you ensure that any potential cancer is caught early.
When cancer is discovered early its more easily treatable, and more options and solutions can be discussed with your doctor.
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Why Should You Know How To Do Breast Cancer Self
Here are a few reasons why you should know how to do complete self-examination for breast cancer:
- To Ensure Timely Detection& Treatment: Having awareness of breast cancer self-check steps can help you discover lumps or tumors at the early stages. In many developed countries, you have to go for periodic screening for breast cancer. Early detections are easier to treat & improve longevity.
- To Reduces Stress: The path after a breast cancer diagnosis is difficult for both the patient and her family. Chemotherapy and the fight alone brings a major mental & physical toll. So identifying the warning signs of breast cancer through self-examination can greatly reduce this stress.
- To Stay Prepared During Emergencies: During COVID, many women had no access to yearly mammograms. Women who know how to do breast self-check can stay alert and look out for any abnormal symptoms even if medical check-ups arent available.
Now lets move on to the self-check breast cancer guide. You can also jump right to the breast self-exam PDF.
What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer
There are 5 stages of breast cancer:Stage 0: Non-invasive breast cancer no evidence whether the cancer is spreading in neighboring regionsStage 1 4: Varying stages of invasive cancer which starts spreading to nearby tissuesDoctors use various sophisticated techniques to determine which stage cancer you have.
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If You Feel A Lump Does It Mean You Have Breast Cancer
Only 20% of the breast lumps are cancerous. Also, no doctor bases a cancer diagnosis on a simple self-examination. There are other sophisticated diagnostic tools such as mammography and biopsy that determine whether or not you have breast cancer.
I hope this blog helped you understand the importance of breast self-examination at home. Plus, you now know the necessary steps for how to do your breast self-check every month.
If you found this breast self-exam guide useful, please share it with your friends and family. Also, dont forget to download the instructional breast cancer self-exam PDF for free!
Place Your Hands On Your Hip
Strip to the waist and stand before a mirror. You will need to see both breasts at the same time. Stand with your hands on your hips and check the overall appearance of your breasts.
Look at the size, shape, and contour.
Note changes, if any, in the color or texture of the skin on your breasts as well as on your nipples and areolas.
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Breast Changes To Look Out For
See a GP if you notice any of the following changes:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
How To Do A Breast Self Exam
This article was co-authored by Carrie Noriega, MD. Dr. Noriega is a Board Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist and medical writer in Colorado. She specializes in womens health, rheumatology, pulmonology, infectious disease, and gastroenterology. She received her MD from the Creighton School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska and completed her residency at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2005.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 203,373 times.
Breast self-exams are an optional screening tool to check for early signs of breast cancer. Performing these exams monthly can help you familiarize yourself with the look and feel of your breasts so that you can more easily detect changes.XResearch source Though breast self-exams were once thought to be essential to screening for breast cancer, they are now considered a helpful, optional tool.
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