How often do you check your breasts? If your answer is never, know that breast cancer is one of the common types of cancer in women. Since October is breast cancer awareness month, here are the signs you need to look out for.
Discharge from nipples: Unless you are pregnant or breast feeding, any discharge from the nipple is not a sign of a healthy breast, says Dr Sumeet Shah, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, Mumbai. If you have bloody discharge or white fluid with blood stains, it’s time to consult a gynaecologist.
Swelling/change in texture: The skin around your nipples is soft and supple, but in case of breast cancer, it turns thick and hard. You can even feel peeling of the skin around the nipples and even the nipples take an orange tint. Although not quite common, you may feel swelling in the entire breast or a part of it. Whatever, might be the cause, it is not a bad idea to consult a doctor at the earliest.
Pain in the breast: If you feel constant pain or tenderness in the breast, then you should visit a doctor without any delay. Because, it may indicate changes in the breast tissue that in turn lead to pain.
Skin irritation/dimpling: Usually, nipples face outwards and do not cause any irritation. However, if you have been experiencing irritation around nipples or an inward pull, it might indicate breast cancer. In such a case, performing a breast self examination might help you out.
A lump in the breast: Finding a lump in the breast is not an easy job, unless you regularly examine your breasts. However, a knot or a hard painless lump in one or both breast calls for a mammogram.
Swelling or lump in the armpit: Lymph nodes present in the arms might get inflamed due to an infection. But, the presence of hard knots or lumps in the armpits can indicate breast cancer. Don’t worry, but consult your doctor to know the exact cause and get treated.