Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Mar 23, 2022
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients.

Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we welcome you. We cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness—The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Our offices are open and our staff is prepared to answer any questions you may have about your health, your breast cancer risk, and how to reach your aesthetic goals. 

At The Breast Place, we offer several oncoplastic surgical procedures, such as natural reconstruction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, Hidden Scar™, implant reconstruction, and breast lift with or without reduction. Oncoplastic surgery is distinct from both breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery–though you initially assume oncoplastic surgery to be a mixture of both. Rather, the aim of oncoplastic breast surgery is “to achieve good aesthetic outcomes for women with breast cancers who would have unacceptable outcomes with other BCS techniques, and in addition, enable breast-conserving surgery for larger breast cancers.” While breast cancer surgery prioritizes the eradication of cancerous tissue and plastic surgery prioritizes the cosmetic appearance of the breasts, oncoplastic surgery takes both of these aspects into account when planning for the final outcome. You can find out more information about what to look for in an Oncoplastic surgeon here. 

Our last article discussed easy self-care tips to incorporate into your routine. Self-care refers to the process of taking care of oneself through healthy habits and behaviors. Small tasks like going for a short walk or treating yourself to a warm bubble bath are forms of self-care. Things like journaling, taking a short break from social media, learning something new, and taking time to pamper yourself are all simple ways you can care for yourself. If you are interested in learning more about these techniques, check out our last post!

Before we dive into today’s topic, we’d like to make you aware of a few promotions available at The Breast Place this March. Spring is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by treating yourself? We’re offering a free EltaMD product with the purchase of Laser Genetics. You can also get double the Alle Rewards when you get Botox or Juvederm! Learn more about that rewards program here. This month we are offering Botox for just $10 per unit, and we will be donating $1 for every unit of Botox to our charity of the quarter. This quarter, we are donating proceeds to the Lonon Foundation, which is a charity dedicated to helping children affected by their parent or caregiver’s cancer diagnosis. You can find out more about the Lonon Foundation here. If you haven’t received a breast screening in a while, we encourage you to schedule one. (You can perform a self-exam in the meantime using this resource.) Overall, we encourage you to use this month to practice self-care techniques and take time to pamper yourself whenever possible.

Today, we’ll be discussing some common signs and symptoms of breast cancer, as well as rarer signs that you should watch out for. Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women but it is not unique to the gender, although less than 1% of all breast cancers are found in men. Risk factors can be genetic or based on family history, but other social factors can play a part as well, such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Having regular breast cancer screenings such as mammograms is important, but they do not detect every type of breast cancer. Breast cancer signs and symptoms can vary, and some types of breast cancers produce no symptoms. With that being said, it is important to be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel, so that you can identify any changes. It is important to note that breasts are not uniform– What is “normal” is different for every woman. We encourage you to stick around if you are interested in knowing more about the possible symptoms of breast cancer. Let’s get informed!

New Lumps or Masses

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast or the underarm. A painless, hard mass is more likely to be cancer, but cancer can also come in the form of soft and tender lumps. Most cancerous lumps have irregular edges, are immobile (don’t move when pushed), and grow over time. Cancerous lumps will not always meet all of these criteria. These lumps may or may not be visible. It is important to note that not all lumps or masses are breast cancer. In fact, the majority of lumps and masses are non-cancerous. Many lumps found in the breast are caused by other medical conditions, such as cysts or fibrocystic breast conditions. If you notice a new lump or mass, you should get it checked by your doctor. 

Changes of the Skin

There are a few different changes of the breast skin that you should be aware of. The swelling or thickening of any part of the breast could be a sign of breast cancer, even if no lump is felt. This may also be on or around the nipples. You should also take note of any redness, irritated or flaky skin on any part of the breast and nipples, including scaly skin. Another change to watch for is dimpling of the skin. Dimpling can be a sign that something is pulling on the breast tissue. This can look like a single indent, or can appear similar to that of an orange peel. Nipple retraction is also something to watch for. When this occurs, the nipple is turned inward or pulled in. There may or may not be pain associated with nipple retraction. Any changes to the skin of the breast area should be addressed.

Nipple Discharge

Nipple discharge, other than breast milk, can be an early symptom of breast cancer. This is a rare symptom of an early form of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts. Typically, discharge that is clear (especially if only coming from one breast) or bloody is most commonly associated with breast cancer. Discharge may come out on its own, or may only occur if you squeeze the nipple. Nipple discharge is most often caused by a benign condition, but should still be addressed with your doctor, especially if it is accompanied by other changes in the breast or nipples. 

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Lymph Nodes are small structures that are part of the body’s immune system. They filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid and contain white blood cells that help the body fight infection and disease. They are located in various parts of the body including the neck, armpit, chest, and groin. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can be a sign of breast cancer. 

These are just some of the possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Doing regular self-breast exams and getting regular screenings are important in detecting early signs of breast cancer. Check out our post about self-breast exams and our post about mammograms here for more information. Any changes in the breasts, including changes in size or shape of the breasts, should be addressed immediately. If you visit a doctor with any of these symptoms, a clinical exam will be performed and your doctor may also order tests such as a biopsy, mammogram, or ultrasound. You can find a guide to different types of breast imaging here

Once again, it is also important to remember that various benign conditions can cause similar symptoms. We hope you found this article helpful. Here at The Breast Place, we offer breast imaging services and provide consultations, clinical breast exams, and dedicated treatment plans. We strongly encourage you to reach out to us for a consultation if you have any questions or concerns about changes in your breasts. We are committed to empowering women, and we are proud to offer treatments and products to help you look and feel your best. Thank you for taking the time to read today’s article and we hope you’ll check back in for future posts about treatments, wellness, and more!