In the fight against breast cancer, early detection is crucial. When diagnosed in the early stages, breast cancer patients have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery than those whose cancer goes undetected for long periods of time.
The tricky part about catching breast cancer early are the wide variety of ways it can present itself.
Early Breast Cancer Signs
According to the American Cancer Society, there are several other symptoms or changes that can happen to your breasts that may be a sign of cancer besides just lumps. These early warning signs are:
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Nipple retraction (turning inwards)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Steps you can take to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer
While early detection is extremely important, breast cancer prevention is key! There are a number of measures you can take throughout your life to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Breast feed your children as long as possible
- Limit your dose and duration of hormone therapy (birth control, for menopause symptoms)
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
- Eat a healthy diet: plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, lean hormone-free proteins, and whole-food sources of carbohydrates. Limit processed foods as much as possible.
The Bottom Line
If caught early, your chances of beating breast cancer are high. It is of critical importance that every woman does regular self-evaluations of her breasts to ensure that there are no changes, no matter how old you are. If you notice anything that is different than usual, consult your doctor; it is better to be safe than sorry.
Share this article with all the women in your life so that they, too, will be aware of this subtle warning sign of breast cancer.
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