3 Most Common Signs of Breast Cancer: What to Look For

Breast cancer is a serious health concern for many women, and it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of the disease. The three most common signs of breast cancer are a new lump in the breast or armpit, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, and irritation or dimpling formation on the skin of the breasts. Nipple discharge can also be a sign of breast cancer, particularly if it is bloody and occurs on one side only. However, if it is bilateral in both nipples and not bloody, it is less concerning.

Nipple discharge caused by fibrocystic changes is not a sign of breast cancer and is usually not too worrisome. It can sometimes be resolved by reducing caffeine consumption or stopping hormone replacement therapy. Before age 40, even if you don't yet qualify for a screening mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram may be performed if a clinical finding is discovered. This means it's still important to do a breast self-exam from time to time and see your doctor if you feel anything unusual.

Your healthcare provider may recommend chemotherapy for

breast cancer

before a lumpectomy to reduce the size of the tumor. If you have a significant family history of

breast cancer or other types of cancer

, your doctor may recommend a blood test to help identify specific BRCA mutations or other genes that are transmitted from parent to child. She adds that this is increasingly important as more and more young women are diagnosed with breast cancer.Your healthcare provider will perform a breast exam and ask you about your family history, medical history, and any existing symptoms. Although breast cancer cannot be completely prevented, there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk of discovering it at an advanced stage.

These include avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.Redness and swelling may also be a sign of breast cancer in rare cases, particularly inflammatory breast cancer which is an aggressive form of the disease. Talk to your doctor about when to start breast cancer screenings and screenings such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.She adds that diagnostic mammography and breast ultrasound are always options for a woman who feels a lump or shows other signs of breast cancer. Some women have bothersome signs and symptoms during menopause, and for these women, the increased risk of breast cancer may be acceptable to alleviate the signs and symptoms of menopause.Radiation therapy for breast cancer is usually given after a lumpectomy or mastectomy to kill any remaining cancer cells. If the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, your healthcare provider may recommend chemotherapy as the primary treatment.Breast cancer can also start in glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other breast cells or tissues.

Like any cancer, it is the result of DNA mutations that tell cells to grow out of control. The cells can spread (metastasize) through the breast to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.Researchers have identified hormonal, environmental and lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of

breast cancer

. It's important to be aware of these factors so that you can take steps to reduce your risk.

Tonya Sharrai
Tonya Sharrai

Subtly charming tv enthusiast. Passionate internet guru. Hardcore music trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble bacon geek. Pop culture advocate.