Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among American women today. Do you know all of the potential signs of it? Experts are saying there are many signs that women are not aware of that they should know about.
CBS news reports on the lesser-known signs of breast cancer. Researchers and doctors are focusing on the importance of prevention now more than ever when it comes to breast cancer.
Breast cancer is still the most common cancer, aside from some skin cancers, in women in the United States, with over 230,000 new cases expected in 2015, according to new statistics from the American Cancer Society.
Expert physicians are saying that while a lump is the classic warning sign, women should be more aware of other, lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer. These symptoms include: including swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple inversion, nipple discharge other than breast milk, and a redness, scaling, or thickening of the nipple or the skin surrounding it.
Dr. Naoto Ueno, chief of Translational Breast Cancer Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston commented on the importance of this to CBS News. He said, “A lot of people think that you feel a lump and that triggers getting tested. That's true, but there are breast cancers that present as half a lump or there may be no lump at all actually. It could just be a strange-looking skin appearance or skin being red or dimples.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women who are forty or older get breast cancer screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests a different mammography route - every other year starting at age 50 - even routine screening has limits and people still need to be aware of the warning signs.
Doctors are saying that women need to be more alert to changes that could mean breast cancer. Dr. Clifford Hudis, chief of Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City commented on the information. He said, “It's a common misconception, but screening tests can't be expected to find every single cancer. They don't, and there's always the possibility of something happening between screens.”
Experts are also emphasizing the fact that women with a family history of breast cancer or others at higher risk may need to be screened more often starting at a younger age, and should be vigilant about checking any physical changes they observe.
A survey conducted of women in the United Kingdom shows that less than half of women over the age of 70 could name a single symptom of breast cancer other than a lump, therefore showing the lack of knowledge that exists in this area.
Dr. Hudis had further said, “What we're talking about here is a change in appearance. Some people live their whole lives with their nipples inverted, for example. It's a change that we care about, not so much that it's always been that way.”
Dr. Hudis also highlighted that while recognizing the different potential signs of breast cancer is important, having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have cancer. But a visit to a physician to determine the cause is still mandatory.