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6 Breast Cancer Warning Signs

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • If a woman feels a lump in her breast or underarm – whether painful or not – she should make an appointment to see a specialist for a diagnosis so that any abnormality may be treated and cured immediately.
  • Women should check their own breasts once a month, about a week after the end of their period.

Cancer is a leading cause of death, especially breast cancer, which is a serious condition affecting women everywhere. Although breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Thai women, it is curable in cases where the disease can be identified and treated in its early stages.

Breast cancer patients do not usually recognize any symptoms at the beginning, but they may feel a lump on the breast or under arms that may or may not be painful. Many women neglect such signs, believing them to be completely normal. This enables the cancer to reach an advanced stage before any treatment is sought, thereby affecting the chances of success for any subsequent treatment.

The following are signs for which women should be on the lookout:

  1. A lump felt in the breast or underarm: Such lumps can be identified through regular self-check. Lumps may or may not be painful to the touch. All women should check their own breasts once a month, about a week after the end of their period.
  2. A change in breast size or shape: Although all breasts will have some sort of size or shape difference, women should still be observant when it comes to any kind of change occurring in one or both breasts. Such close observations can help women to identify any cancer while the disease is still in the early stages.
  3. Indentations similar to dimples appearing on the skin of the breasts: This includes the skin appearing like cellulite or changes in the appearance of the nipples. If any such changes are identified, seek medical attention to undergo a detailed diagnosis as these dimples may be a result of locally advanced cancer with skin involvement.
  4. Fluid or discharge from the nipples: Any discharge or fluid that has a blood-like appearance and comes from a single spot necessitates a hospital visit in order to undergo a detailed diagnostic approach.
  5. Abnormal breast pain or inflammation of the breast skin: If breast pain doesn’t associate with a woman’s period, or the skin around the breast becomes red or swollen, women should seek medical advice immediately, especially when these symptoms occur together with a palpable lump.
  6. An itchy rash on the breasts that does not heal after treatment: Itchy rashes tend to affect the nipple or breast areas. They start as red, itchy rashes and do not respond to any treatment advised by dermatologists. Eventually, they will scab over. In such cases, investigation should be sought in order to rule out underlying cancer diagnosis because these signs may be a result of the breast cancer cells affecting the skin of the nipple or breast.

All women are at risk of developing breast cancer, but a number of factors, such as age, genetics and lifestyle choices, may increase the chances. There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but there are things you can do that might lower the risks. Monthly self-checks of your body and breasts and annual breast check-up at the hospital are recommended so that if any warning signs are identified, you may seek medical attention for diagnosis and treatment from the outset.


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