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About Breast cancer - signs and symptoms | NHS

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Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a common and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect both men and women. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is crucial for early detection and successful treatment. Here are some key indicators to be aware of:

  • Lump or Thickening: The most common symptom is the presence of a painless lump or thickening in the breast tissue, which may be felt during self-examination.
  • Changes in Breast Size or Shape: Any noticeable changes in the size or shape of the breast, or a sudden asymmetry between the two breasts, can be concerning.
  • Skin Changes: Look out for skin changes such as dimpling, redness, puckering, or the development of an orange peel-like texture, which may indicate an underlying issue.
  • Nipple Changes: Changes in the nipple, including retraction (turning inward), discharge (other than breast milk), or an ulceration, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
  • Breast Pain: While breast pain is not always a sign of cancer, persistent, unexplained discomfort or tenderness should be assessed.
  • Swelling: Swelling or a lump in the armpit or around the collarbone can be a sign that breast cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Nipple Rash: A scaly or crusted rash around the nipple or areola may be indicative of a rare form of breast cancer known as Paget's disease.

It's essential to remember that not all breast lumps are cancerous, but any concerning changes should be promptly discussed with a healthcare provider. Regular breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are key components of early detection and improved outcomes in breast cancer cases. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chances of successful recovery.

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