Do You Know Your Breast Cancer Symptoms
Sara Suchy | April 3, 2012
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True or False: The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast.
Many breast cancers present themselves as a lump in the breast. But not all lumps are cancerous, and not all breast cancer lumps can be felt. In the case of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) or cancer of the nipple, there is no lump at all. Keep in mind that a lump is not always a symptom, and it is not always the only type of symptom.
True or False: There's a significant chance that a lump that suddenly appears in your breast could be cancer.
The majority of breast lumps are NOT cancerous. If you are pre-menopausal and you feel a lump just before your period, there is a good chance it is related to monthly hormonal changes. A lump near your armpit could be a swollen lymph node, which has any number of causes that are not cancer. That said, you should still go to the doctor and have it checked.
The best way to determine if you should be concerned about a lump in your breast is to:
All of these diagnostic tools are ways for a doctor to determine the cause of any number of breast abnormalities. They can detect the size, location, opacity, and make up of the lump and make an accurate diagnosis. Not all may be needed, but there is a good chance that at least one will be done.
The following can be a symptom of breast cancer and should be examined immediately:
A swollen, red, hot breast is the chief symptom of a rare but very aggressive type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). The symptoms are very similar to mastitis, a common breast infection, and are often misdiagnosed. If you have these symptoms, you may want to insist that IBC is ruled out before antibiotics are prescribed for an infection.
True or False: Breast cancer lumps are found only in the breast.
A lump in your armpit may very well be a symptom of breast cancer. Cancer from a breast tumor that's too small to feel, or in an area difficult to access, could have spread to the lymph nodes in your armpit, so lumps there should be taken just as seriously as lumps found in the breast.