Cancer can be present in the body for months or even years before it is detected. In the case of breast cancer, a painless lump in the breast is usually the first sign, although it may not be felt by the person. Mammograms are the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early, as they can detect tumors that are too small to feel. Other signs of breast cancer include a rash similar to mastitis and changes in the breasts during menstrual cycles.
The risk of breast cancer increases if a first-degree relative has had it, especially if they were premenopausal at the time of diagnosis. It is also important to note that most breast cancers occur in people who are not genetic carriers and have no significant family history of breast cancer. If you are concerned about any changes in your breasts, it is important to speak to your doctor and get a more thorough evaluation. Early detection is key when it comes to treating cancer, and regular mammograms can help detect cancer before it causes any visible signs or symptoms.
At the time of diagnosis, 26% of cancers have already reached an advanced stage, so it is important to seek help as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your body. A biopsy may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis, and genetic testing can help determine if you are at an increased risk for certain types of cancer.