Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of female deaths around the world. This condition usually affects women over the age of 20 and is most commonly seen in middle aged women who have undergone menopause. Cancer can be defined as the uncontrolled multiplication of cells and tissues anywhere in the body. These extra cells are useless and serve no real purpose and start using resources that other healthy body parts could have used.
The breasts are a great place for such multiplication of cells because they are very dense with tissues and ducts. But this disease can often cause very serious problems for a woman. Breast cancer has a tendency to start spreading to other parts of the body and cause cancer in organs like the liver, lungs and even ovaries.
Tumors in the breasts can be a potentially life threatening disease. In advanced cases, breast removal or a mastectomy may be the only way to save a patient’s life. This is why all women who have crossed the age of 20 are advised to conduct self examinations least once a month to check for any unusual lumps. Women over 40 should have yearly mammograms as well.
Signs of Breast Cancer
The signs of breast cancer can sometimes be confused with those of other medical condition s which is why it is best to consult a doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms.
Any lump or bump in the breast which was not present before should be examined. Women should massage the breasts and the underarms at least once a month to check for such lumps. The lump may be just a cyst but could also be a malignant tumor.
Women with breast cancer may notice inflammation in the breasts and in the underarms. This could be a sign of infection as well as cancer. Any swelling that also has pain and tenderness must be investigated without delay.
Change in appearance of the nipples and the areolas are usually a sign of a problem. Breast cancer may make your nipple inverted or flat as well as swollen and red.
The areolas may start looking larger and have an irregular border. Some women may also have light to heavy discharge from the nipples. Many women also complain of pain and itching in the same region.
Some women may have multiple small tumors that make the breasts look lumpy and mottled. The skin will look similar in appearance to orange peel i.e. irregular and rough.
This usually happens in the last stages of the disease. The body starts malfunctioning especially if the cancer is spreading. Unexplained and sudden weight loss is a very worrying symptom of breast cancer and can aggravate the discomfort even more.
The breasts may also have another very peculiar symptom where the skin on the surface of the breasts may feel warmer than the surrounding areas. This could also be a sign of infection or mastitis.
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