Understanding Breast Cancer ……….3 (Dr. Ulhas Ganu)
/ May 02, 2016 /
Understanding Breast Cancer ……….3
(Dr. Ulhas Ganu)
Knowing more about the Signs & Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The Canadian Cancer Society has elaborated the signs and symptoms well enough for everybody to understand these well.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
- The most common and usually the first sign of Breast Cancer is the ‘Lump’ in the breast. Usually the lady herself finds it out first.
- The lump related to Breast Cancer may be tender but usually without pain.
- The lump may sometimes feel hard and irregular in shape. It may appear distinctly different from the rest of the breast tissue.
- Peculiarly, the lump does not disappear or change in size with the menstrual cycle.
- Cancer related lump is firmly attached to the skin or the chest wall and cannot be moved (unlike lipoma, which is a benign tumor, essentially mobile and is a pocket of fat surrounded by fibrous tissue).
- It is important to note that pain can more often be a symptom of noncancerous (benign) tumor. Yet, one should not be complacent but needs to be vigilant and get examined from a doctor to ascertain it.
Lump in the Armpit
- There can be a lump in the armpit. This could be because of the axillary lymph node involvement (because of metastases). We saw these terms later when dealing with the biology and structure of normal breast.
- Axillary lump is more often than not, because of the spread of cancer. This may be hard, sometimes tender and often painless.
Changes in breast shape or size of Breast:
Such changes in the size or shape of breast may indicate breast cancer.
- Dimpled Skin: It means hollowness or formation like a pit or depression in breast
- Puckered Skin: It means with creases or crumpled (region).
- A thickening and dimpling of the skin (sometimes called orange peel skin), may occur.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Calor (Heat), Dolor (Pain), Rubor (Redness), and Tumor (for swelling) were described as classical signs of inflammation (originally recorded by the Roman encyclopedist Celsus in the 1st century A.D.)
If present in breast, a medical checkup is indicated for the possibility of inflammatory breast cancer.
- Other indicator for the possibility of Inflammatory Breast Cancer could be (persistent) itching in the breast or the nipple, which is (often) not relieved by medications or medicated ointments or creams for local application.
- In majority of people Nipples are normally pointed outwards. In some, nipples may be pointed inwards (inverted). However, if normal nipples get inverted, it could be a cause of concern and the person should ideally see a doctor for consultation and medical opinion.
Discharge from Nipples
- Although many noncancerous conditions may cause it, better to find out the reasons.
- Discharge from a single nipple, especially if it occurs without squeezing it, and especially if containing blood may be a sign of Breast Cancer.
Paget’s Disease (a type of Breast Cancer):
- Crusting, ulcers or scaling on the nipple may be a sign of some rare types of breast cancer, such as Paget disease of the nipple.
Late signs and symptoms
While it is ideal through treatment point of view and for better outcome of therapy i.e. cure rate to have an early diagnosis, many breast cancer cases are detected when the tumor has spread to other organs (Metastases).
Canadian Cancer Society has elaborated well the additional sets of symptoms, termed as late signs and symptoms which occur when the cancer grows larger in size and / or spreads to other parts of the body, are described below:
- Bone Pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Pleural Effusion: (buildup of fluid around the lungs)
- Shortness of Breath
- Double Vision
- Muscle Weakness
- Canadian Cancer Society,
- American Cancer Society,
- American Cancer Society,