For years, you’ve been told of the importance of monthly breast self-checks as a means of early breast cancer detection. Make no mistake – being on the lookout for changes to your breasts is very important as the best chance of surviving breast cancer is through early detection. When found early, there is a 96% chance for a cure.
But before focusing on technique and doing your breast self-exam the “right way,” it’s also important that you’re familiar with your breasts so that you’ll notice any changes and report them to your doctor right away.
Breast Self-Awareness: What to Look For
True or false: breast cancer always presents first with a lump in the breast. False. While a lump may be a first indication of breast cancer, it’s not the only breast cancer symptom.
When it comes to breast self-awareness, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center gives you symptoms that you can look for:
- A lump or mass in your breast
- Swelling in or around your breast, collarbone or armpit
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your armpit
- Changes in breast size, shape, skin texture or color
- Skin redness in the breast area
- Dimpling or puckering of breast skin
- Nipple changes or discharge
- Scaliness on nipple (sometimes extending to the areola)
- A nipple pulling to one side or a change in direction
It’s important to remember that breast cancer symptoms may vary from woman to woman. Any changes you find in your breasts should be promptly reported to a health care provider.
Early detection of breast cancer, whether through breast self-checks or regular mammograms, is critical to having the best chance of survival.
To get more information on early detection and self-checks or to schedule a mammogram, set up an appointment at a Banner Health Imaging Center.