Breast cancer symptoms: The warning signs
Possible breast cancer symptoms include lumps and hardening in the breast tissue as well as watery or bloody secretions from the nipple. Even if a nipple or a part of the skin of the breast retracts inwards, a breast carcinoma can be the cause. If you discover such changes in yourself, however, you should not immediately assume the worst: Sometimes there are also relatively harmless causes behind it. Nevertheless, abnormalities in the breast area should always be clarified by a doctor. Read here everything important about possible breast cancer symptoms!
How do you recognize breast cancer?
The best chance to detect breast cancer as early as possible is offered by regular palpation of the breast: As a woman, you should carefully palpate your breast once a month. This allows you to detect changes at an early stage. Such abnormalities can be a sign of breast cancer, but they can also have more harmless causes (such as a benign tumour or inflammation). But only a gynaecologist can tell you this with certainty.
Tip: The best time for self-examination of the breast in pre-menopausal women is one week after the start of menstruation. Then the breast tissue is particularly soft, so that changes (such as lumps or hardenings) are easier to detect.
The monthly self-examination of the breast should be supplemented by a regular early detection examination by the gynaecologist. The health insurance companies pay women aged 30 and older once a year for a medical examination of the breast.
Important signs of breast cancer
Pain is an important alarm signal for many diseases – but not for breast cancer, at least not in its early stages. In the case of advanced breast cancer, however, daughter metastases can trigger pain, for example bone metastases.
In order to be able to detect early stages of breast cancer, women should therefore preferably look for other changes and symptoms. The main breast cancer symptoms are:
- newly appeared lumps or hardenings in the breast (mostly in the upper outer quadrant) or armpit
- altered size or shape of a breast
- Differences in the movement of the two breasts when lifting the arms
- Retractions of the skin or a nipple
- Changes in the colour or sensitivity of the skin of the breast, areola or nipple
- watery, cloudy or bloody secretions from a nipple
- enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
- newly appeared, not diminishing redness or scaling of the breast skin
Do not be alarmed if you discover one or more of these possible breast cancer symptoms in you! Not every lump in the breast is immediately followed by a malignant tumour. There are often more harmless explanations for the other conspicuous features as well:
For example, if the lymph glands in your armpit are enlarged, the reason may be an infection. If a pressure-sensitive lump in the breast tissue can be palpated, it is often just a benign tumour, a harmless cyst or dense connective tissue.
However, in order to get real certainty, you should always have potential breast cancer signs checked by a doctor. Make an appointment with your gynaecologist as soon as possible to be examined. If the doctor finds a comparatively harmless explanation for the changes, you can rest assured. However, if the symptoms of breast cancer are actually breast cancer symptoms, early detection and treatment of the tumour can significantly improve your chances of recovery!