The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) most recent guidelines reflect that self-exams haven’t shown a clear benefit, especially for women who also get screening mammograms, even when doctors conduct those exams. Still, some men and women will find breast cancer, and be diagnosed with it, as a result of a lump detected during a self-exam.
If you’re a woman, it’s important for you to be familiar with how your breasts look and check them regularly. This will help you become aware of any changes or abnormalities as they occur.
All breast lumps deserve medical attention. Unusual lumps or bumps in breast tissue are something that should be examined by a doctor. The vast majority of lumps aren’t cancerous.
Breast cancer lumps don’t all feel the same.
It’s important for your doctor to examine any lump, whether or not it meets the most common symptoms listed below.
A cancerous lump in the breast can be,
a hard mass,
has irregular edges,
is immobile ( doesn’t move when pushed),
appears in the upper outer portion of your breast,
grows over time,
Not all cancerous lumps will meet these criteria, and a cancerous lump that has all these traits isn’t typical. A cancerous lump may feel rounded, soft and tender and can occur anywhere in the breast. In some cases, the lump can even be painful.
Some women also have dense tissue.
Feeling lumps or changes in your breast may be more difficult if this is the case. Having dense breasts also makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer on mammograms. Despite the tougher tissue, you might still be able to identify when a change begins in your breast.
Other symptoms of breast cancer include,
swelling on part or all of your breast,
nipple discharge (other than breast milk,if breast feeding),
skin irritation or scaling,
redness of the skin on the breast and nipples,
a thickening of the skin on the breast and nipples,
a nipple turning inwards,
swelling in the arm,
swelling under the armpit,
swelling around the collar bone.
You should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, with or without the presence of a lump.
In many cases, these symptoms are not caused by cancer but your doctor would need to confirm what is going on, by running some tests.
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