Early Warning Signs Breast Cancer Is Taking Over Your Body

Detect breast cancer early by knowing the warning signs. Additional factors may put you at a higher risk for getting breast cancer. Even unexpected things can increase risk. Know the warning signs and get checked often. Learn early warnings signs, ahead.

Skin irritation

Women sitting at table eating dinner

Skin irritation can signal a problem. | monkeybusinessimages/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

A rash, redness, or skin irritation, “sometimes looking like an orange peel,” can be signs of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Dimpling is another skin irritation that can be related to breast cancer. Check your breasts regularly for any of these signs. Even scaliness on the nipples can be a sign of breast cancer, Susan G. Komen says.

Pain in one or both breasts that won’t subside

Breast cancer self check, Healthcare and Medicine concept

Consistent breast pain can signal a problem. | iStock.com/Tharakorn

Experiencing pain is not good. If you have breast pain that won’t go away, consider visiting a doctor. Long-lasting pain in one or both breasts can mean breast cancer is rearing its ugly head, the American Cancer Society says. Concentrated pain the nipple can be another sign.

A change in an existing lump that feels different

Woman examining her breasts

Changes in a benign lump can signal a problem. | iStock.com

For those who already have lumps, keep a close eye on how they feel. If any changes occur, meet with a doctor. A change in an existing lump can be a breast cancer warning sign. Self breast exams are important to make not of any changes.

A new lump

Woman holding a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

It’s important to give yourself regular self exams. | iStock.com/AND-ONE

Here’s another reason why breast exams are important. Regular exams can alert you to a new lump. If you notice a lump you’ve never noticed before, get the lump checked for cancer. “If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then it’s probably normal breast tissue,” Susan G. Komen says.

Nipple retraction

Two smiling women choosing underwear

Nipple retraction does not always signal cancer. | iStock.com/JackF

A nipple turning inward is an early warning sign of breast cancer.  However, retraction “can be caused by things other than breast cancer, the American Cancer Society says. See a doctor to confirm the root cause. This isn’t something you want to put off. While retraction may not be a sign of cancer, you may have an infection.

Nipple discharge

Woman getting a mammogram

Only breast feeding mothers should have nipple discharge. | MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images

Nursing mothers aside, no discharge should be present. While there’s a chance this may occur as a symptom of cancer, “it’s rarely a sign of breast cancer,” according to Susan G. Komen. Although this is another example of a sign that shouldn’t be ignored. Even if you’re pretty sure it’s nothing serious, get a second opinion from a healthcare professional.

Swelling

radiologist

Take note of any swelling in the breast. | ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

Again, this is where knowing your body comes in handy. Performing regular breast exams will get you familiar with your body and keep you “abreast” of any changes. Swelling is a sign that breast cancer may be taking over your body. Swelling doesn’t have to be exclusive to the breasts. Swelling may occur in the lymph nodes under the arm or in the collar bone area, according to the American Cancer Society.

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