Cancer: Symptoms of breast cancer – specialist shares what to see and touch
Women are strongly encouraged to develop a monthly routine to check their breasts. âYou may find it easier to do this when you are relaxed, such as when taking a bath or shower,â said Dr. Wild. âBe aware that your breasts will change during your monthly cycle, pregnancy and menopause. It is for this reason that a “regular routine” might help you identify any changes in breast tissue that might be abnormal.
Dr Wild stressed how important it is to “know what is normal for you so that you can identify if something is different”.
What should you watch out for?
âThe most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump in or around your breast,â Dr. Wild said.
âOther signs may include breast pain, discharge from your nipple, or skin (on your breast or nipple) that is red, dry, flaking, or thickening. “
Breast pain can be attributed to other causes, such as hormonal fluctuations and menopause.
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“Breast pain by itself is unlikely to be a symptom of cancer,” said Dr. Wild.
When checking your breasts, you should look at the size and shape of each breast, as well as look for lumps.
âFamiliarize yourself with the normal appearance of your breasts as it can help you spot anything that is unusual,â Dr. Wild said.
âLook at your breasts and the skin on and around them with your arms at your sides, then with your arms in the air.
“Look for any areas where your skin pulls, nipple discharge, or red spots on the skin (especially around the nipple area).”
Dr Wild added, âAlso, look for a change in the appearance of the nipple; for example, if your nipple becomes inverted or pulled inward if it wasn’t before. “
The doctor also recommends to “feel your breast”, both under the arm and behind the nipple for any lumps.
You should continue âdown to your collarbone,â checking each area for any pain or tenderness.
âEarly detection is essential for any type of cancer and treatment options,â said Dr. Wild.
Checking your breasts once a month is considered the minimum requirement, but other checks are welcome.
Dr Wild clarified, âMake sure you check your breasts frequently.
“And do it as often as you feel the need to, to be sure that if there are any changes, you will pick them up quickly.”
For those who would like to have peace of mind, Dr Wild said: âThere are a number of private breast cancer centers in the UK.
âFor example, Bupa UK Insurance has a number of centers specializing in breast cancer, including:
- Bupa Cromwell Hospital
- HCA’s Harley Street Clinic
- Lister Hospital
- london bridge
- Wellington Hospital
- Wilmslow Hospital
- Christie Private Care. “
Alternatively, you can make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any breast changes that are bothering you.
Dr Samantha Wild is a general practitioner and responsible for women’s health at Bupa health clinics.