12 Signs of Breast Cancer Everyone Should Know

Do you know the breast cancer warning signs? Recognizing breast cancer symptoms can lead to much earlier diagnosis and treatment and might even save your life.

12 Signs of Breast Cancer You Should Know

I never thought I would hear the words…”you have breast cancer”. Riding high from a negative colon cancer screening, I felt great. No real family cancer history, certainly no breast cancer…for a while I felt invincible. Then my left breast swelled up and a lump appeared which my doctor said was probably a cyst. But a niggling feeling kept telling me to check further and listening to the whisper inside my head may have saved my life.

Breast cancer is on the rise – it’s the second leading cause of death for women. Take it from me, who’s just starting her bilateral breast cancer journey, it’s absolutely critical that all women come to know their breasts and be able to recognize changes in them that indicate a further look is needed. Men can get breast cancer too. It’s rare, about 1% of cases, but the chance of men getting breast cancer is real, especially if others in the family have had it.

These 12 Key Signs are from and are indicators that you should schedule a mammogram or see your health care provider as soon as possible. Remember, it’s never too early to protect your health.

self breast exam

Breast Cancer Symptoms

  1. A thickened skin or tissue area on the breast
  2. A lump or bump
  3. Red or Hot areas
  4. Dimpling
  5. Orange rind skin
  6. Skin sores
  7. Nipple Crust
  8. Sunken nipple
  9. New nipple fluid or discharge
  10. A growing or enlarged vein
  11. New breast shape or size

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The statistics show that 1 out of every 8 women will develop breast cancer by the time they’re 80 years old. That’s a scary number and one that makes it really important to incorporate breast self-exams into your routine. I found my first sign of breast cancer in the shower, with a firm swelling on the side of my left breast. I couldn’t yet feel the lump hiding in my right breast…it was found during a hastily scheduled mammogram to look closer at the source my breast swelling.

getting a mammogram

According to women who are ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast). If you think you are at a higher risk for breast cancer due to extremely dense breasts or close relatives with breast cancer, talk to your doctor about personalizing your mammogram schedule. Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening depending on health history.

We’re lucky to live in a time where our technology and knowledge is so vast that we have reliable tests to detect many cancers early enough that life-saving treatments are effective. So if you believe that you have any breast cancer symptoms, or just feel something is off, you owe it to yourself to get checked out.

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