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8 Breast Cancer Symptoms You Might Not Expect

8 Breast Cancer Symptoms You Might Not Expect

Breast cancer often has no noticeable symptoms, and lumps – the one symptom many women associate with breast cancer – can be difficult to detect with self-exams. That’s why early detection of the disease with annual mammograms is so important.

“Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early,” said Chisom Onuoha, MD, medical oncologist at Archbold’s Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center. “Symptoms vary widely with each person. Having annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40 if you’re at average risk can help ease women’s anxiety over changes they notice in their breasts.”

Significant Signs

Although breast self-exams may not help you detect cancer, they do allow you to get to know your breasts so it’s easier to notice signs that you should discuss with your doctor. Those signs, according to Dr. Onuoha, include:

  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Breast skin that is dry, red or an unusual texture
  • Dimpling of the skin (link an orange peel)
  • Lumps or masses that may or may not be painful
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Nipples turning inward
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast (event without a lump)
  • Swollen lymph nodes under the arm, around the collar bone or in the neck

Develop a Self-Exam Routine

When you know what to look for, it’s easier to create a self-exam routine. For women who are menstruating, conduction self-exams several days after their periods help ensure breasts aren’t swollen or tender. For women who aren’t menstruating, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first of the month.

After you choose a day, decide where to conduct each exam. Some options are the bathroom, where there’s access to a mirror, or the bedroom, where you’ll be comfortable laying down.

Women are as much as 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men, but men are also at risk of breast cancer. For men wh o have a higher risk of breast cancer, self-exam techniques and professional screening are just as useful in early detection.

Residents of Southwest Georgia don’t have to travel far for advanced, state-of-the-art cancer care. Learn more about the services offered at Archbold’s Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center by calling 229.458.3596.