Breast cancer symptoms may vary from patient to patient. However, some of the first symptoms of breast cancer include a new, painless lump, swelling or change in the appearance of the breasts, and changes in the texture of the skin of the nipples.
Some signs and symptoms of breast cancer may vary depending on the patient's age, location of the cancerous tumor, and the type of cancer.
An early diagnosis is a critical factor in increasing the survival rates of cancer. However, having these signs does not mean the patient suffers from breast carcinoma. For a definitive diagnosis of breast cancer, doctors will recommend additional tests, such as imaging scans and a biopsy.
Breast cancer is primarily seen in women. However, it can be rarely seen in men as well.
Middle-aged women who are above the age of 50 are found to have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Various factors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, family history, obesity, hormone replacement therapy, etc., can increase one’s breast cancer risk.
The most common breast tumor symptoms include a lump or mass located in the breasts or armpits, changes in the shape and appearance of the breast, discharge from the nipple, even blood, and pain in any part of the breast.
A painless or painful lump in the breast or underarm is one of the early symptoms of breast cancer. Though not every lump is cancerous, it is always advisable to get new lumps that do not go away checked.
If the patient witnesses any kind of change in the appearance of the breast, for example, an increase in the size of the breast, it may be one of the early signs of breast cancer. Also, a change in the shape of the breast over a short period of time can be a symptom of breast carcinoma.
Skin changes, such as the sudden appearance of rashes, redness, or dimpling of the breast skin, are some more first signs of breast cancer.
If any of the nipples become inverted suddenly, it is advisable to get them checked, as it can be one of the breast tumor symptoms.
Redness in the breasts or pitting of the breast skin is also counted among the breast cancer symptoms. This can also be a sign of a more serious kind of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer.
Other common breast tumor symptoms include irritation in the skin of the breast and a dimpling effect on the skin.
An unusual discharge from the nipples, including blood, can also be one of the early symptoms of breast cancer. Patients with breast cancer also feel a new lump on their breast.
Though pain in the breast is often related to menstrual cycles among women, some types of breast cancer also cause discomfort or pain.
Since there are different types of breast carcinomas, some of them share symptoms, while others display unique signs. Here are the different breast cancer types and the symptoms associated with them:
Ductal carcinoma usually does not show any symptoms. However, some patients with this breast cancer type present with some of the first signs of breast cancer, such as a breast lump, a red-colored rash on the nipple, and discharge from the nipple.
The common lobular carcinoma symptoms include a change in the size and shape of the breast, changes in the nipple, such as getting inverted, the formation of lumps in the armpit or inside the breast, dimpling, or a dent in the breast skin.
In addition, the metastatic lobular carcinoma symptoms include weight loss without effort, shortness of breath, persistent bone pain, headaches, and dizziness.
The invasive breast cancer symptoms may be absent during the early stages, but as time passes, patients start experiencing symptoms like abnormal nipple discharges, a change in the appearance of the skin of the nipple or the breast, redness of the skin, changes in the shape of the nipple's position, and the presence of a mass or lump in the breast.
These signs are similar to stage 1 breast cancer symptoms, and should not be ignored.
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms, or last stage of breast cancer symptoms, are seen when the disease has spread to other organs in the body. The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer differ as per the location of the tumor's spread. Some of the symptoms include changes in vision, fatigue, pain in the bones, and pain in the neck or back.
The symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer are similar to some of the common and first signs of breast cancer. These include nipple retraction, discharge from the nipples, a new breast cancer lump, dimpling of the breast skin, and swollen lymph nodes in case the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes in the arm.
Since Paget's disease of the breast starts from the nipple and then spreads to the areola, the dark-colored skin around the nipple, its symptoms include flaky skin of the nipple, redness of the nipples, an inverted nipple, discharge from the nipple, and hardened or crusty skin on the nipple.
The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include discoloration of the skin or a rash that spreads to one-third of the breast, pain, itching, swelling in one of the breasts, inverted or retracted nipples, and dimpling of the skin of the breast.
Papillary carcinoma is a rare type that presents with breast cancer symptoms similar to those of other breast cancer types. These include an inverted nipple, pain in the breast, discharge from the nipple, and changes in the size and shape of the breast.
The primary symptoms of angiosarcoma include swelling in the breasts, an increase in the size of the breast, a feeling of fullness in the breast, rashes or bruises on the skin, and the growth of purple-colored nodules in the skin.
The question of what is the reason for breast cancer can have many answers, as various aspects can affect an individual’s chances of getting diagnosed with it.
Increasing age is one of the prominent risk factors for breast carcinoma, as most of the said cancers affect women who are over the age of 50. Also, men who are over the age of 60 are more affected by breast carcinoma.
Breast cancer is more commonly found among women than men, as women have more breast cells.
One of the common reasons for breast cancer is having a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Having mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be one of the possible causes of breast cancer.
Also, having mutations in the genes of TP53 and CHEK2 increases the chances of getting breast cancer. Individuals often inherit these mutations from their parents.
Tobacco and alcohol consumption have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Excess alcohol usage is also counted among the major causes of breast cancer.
Obesity is also one of the main reasons for breast cancer, and it is found to increase the risk of recurrence as well.
Radiation exposure to the regions of the head, chest, and neck can also be a major cause of breast cancer.
People who have undergone hormone replacement therapy also have a higher risk of developing breast carcinoma.
As soon as you witness any of the early signs of breast cancer, it is advisable to go to your physician, who will further recommend you visit an oncologist. The oncologist would then perform some further tests to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.
One of the major causes of breast cancer almost everyone ignores is increasing age. Thus, it is often advisable to go for regular checkups once a female reaches the age of 50 and men are over 60. Also, as soon as one starts getting early signs of breast cancer, it is important to see a doctor.