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8 Visible signs of breast cancer

Knowing how to identify visible signs of breast cancer can mean the difference between an early diagnosis and a delayed or poor prognosis. 

Breast cancer is a formidable adversary, affecting millions of lives worldwide. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2023.

While breast cancer may seem like an invisible foe lurking within, it may cause subtle signs that often go unnoticed. Recognizing these visual cues is a powerful tool in the fight against breast cancer. 

Understanding and identifying these signs may help in early detection, a vital factor in the successful treatment of breast cancer.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of malignancy that originates in breast tissue. It occurs when cells in the breast grow uncontrollably. This type of cancer is the most common cancer seen among women.

Early detection plays a crucial role in breast cancer treatment. The sooner it's diagnosed, the more treatment options are available, increasing the chances of a successful outcome. Regular breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are essential in detecting breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages.

Breast cancer indicators

While breast cancer typically starts deep within breast tissue, it can sometimes manifest visible signs on the skin. These visual indicators can be important clues for early detection. 

Here are eight signs to watch for.

1. Skin changes in the breast

Breast cancer can sometimes cause noticeable changes in the breast skin. These changes may manifest as thicker skin, redness, or dimpling of the skin. If you notice any unusual alterations in the texture, color, or appearance of your breast skin, it's essential to have it evaluated by a healthcare professional.

2. Unusual lumps or thickening

One of the most common early signs of breast cancer is the presence of unusual lumps or thickened areas within the breast tissue. These lumps are often painless but can sometimes cause discomfort. 

Remember that not all new or unusual lumps in your breast indicate a cancerous growth. However, it is essential to perform regular breast self-exams to detect changes in your breast texture and seek medical evaluation by a healthcare professional.

3. Skin dimpling or puckering

Breast cancer can cause changes in the skin's texture, leading to dimpling or puckering that resembles the surface of an orange peel. This condition, known as peau d'orange, occurs when the breast's ligaments are affected by cancer growth, causing the skin to be pulled inward. 

If you notice this dimpled or puckered appearance, especially when your arms are raised, you should seek medical attention and further evaluation.

4. Nipple changes

Changes in the appearance of the nipple can also be indicative of breast cancer. Watch for signs such as: 

  • Nipple inversion (the nipple turning inward)
  • Persistent scaling or flakiness on the nipple or areola
  • Nipple discharge, especially if it's bloody or occurs without stimulation 

Any such unusual changes in the nipples should be promptly discussed with a healthcare provider.

5. Redness or rash

While less common, breast cancer can cause persistent redness or a rash-like appearance on the breast skin. This is often associated with inflammatory breast cancer, which is a rare but fast-growing form of cancer. 

The redness occurs when cancer cells block the lymph vessels carrying lymph fluid and white blood cells throughout the lymphatic system. It can cause the breast skin to appear red, swollen, and dimpled.

If you notice redness that doesn't subside or resembles an unexplained rash on your breast, it's vital to get yourself tested by a medical professional.

6. Swelling or lump in the armpit (axillary region)

If you notice any swelling or lump in your armpit, known as the axillary region, it could mean that breast cancer has affected nearby lymph nodes. When touched, these enlarged lymph nodes may feel like small, firm, or tender lumps. Enlarged lymph nodes in this area are concerning and need prompt medical attention. 

Remember that breast health includes monitoring not only the breast itself but also the surrounding areas, including the armpit.

7. Persistent pain

While breast cancer is not typically associated with pain, some people may experience persistent discomfort or tenderness in the breast or nipple. 

If you have unexplained breast pain that doesn't resolve on its own or is recurrent, it's advisable to seek medical advice for a thorough assessment.

7. Change in breast size & shape

Changes in the size, shape, or contour of your breast can also be a visual sign of breast cancer. You may notice one breast appears larger or differently shaped than the other. This may be caused by cancer cells blocking the lymphatic vessels in the breast and causing fluid buildup. 

Having breasts of slightly varying sizes doesn't increase your cancer risk. However, a significant difference in size between the two sides may be a potential sign of cancer. If you notice such a difference in breast size or shape, please consult a medical expert for examination.

It's important to remember that while these visual signs can indicate breast cancer, they can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions. 

Early detection through regular breast self-exams and timely medical evaluation are essential steps in determining the cause and seeking appropriate treatment. 

Always consult a healthcare provider if you have concerns about your breast health or notice any of these signs.

When to seek medical help

Recognizing potential signs of breast cancer is only the first step in the process. Knowing when to take action is equally crucial in your path to good breast health. 

Regular breast self-exams, clinical check-ups, and mammograms, as recommended by your healthcare provider, are all part of a comprehensive approach to breast health.

If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, don't hesitate to seek medical help promptly. Remember that early detection can significantly impact your treatment options and overall prognosis. 

Delaying medical evaluation could potentially allow cancer to progress to a more advanced stage, making treatment more challenging.

Contact us

Are you looking to learn more about your diagnosis or treatment options for breast cancer? Or do you want a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment plan? Our team at RGCC can help. 

Our tests help cancer patients and their healthcare professionals get a comprehensive but personalized view of each patient’s genetics, physiology, and immune profiles. We aim to provide a unique insight into every patient’s cancer biology to empower them about what treatment modalities are ideal for bringing them success in their cancer journey!

Reach out to us to start your journey to empowering information for your cancer treatment today by contacting us online

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Accreditations
IAS Accreditation
Testing Laboratory
View TL-836 Certificate
EN ISO 22000: 2018
No: 20101200002689
View Certificate
IAS Accreditation
Medical Laboratory
View ML-103 Certificate
ISO 22000: 2018
No: 20101200002689
View Certificate
ISO 45001: 2018
No: 20152220006395
View CertificatePolicy
ISO 22716: 2007
No: 20019220006394
View Certificate
CLIA ID Number
99D2283882
View Certificate
College of American Pathologists 
Certificate of Accreditation
CAP#: 9239089 
CLIA#: 99D2283882 
View Certificate
Certificate of GMP Compliance
No. 512863-102689104
View Certificate
Accreditation Certificate of Foreign Cell Processor - Japanese Government
View Certificate
EOF GMP COSMETICS – SUPPLEMENTS
View Certificate
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