Breast Cancer: Early Symptoms and Precautions

Specific changes in the breast may be early warnings of breast cancer. To understand and sense breast cancer symptoms in the early stages can help people access the correct treatment as early as possible. Precautionary measures like lifestyle changes should also be taken to prevent a breast cancer diagnosis.

Early warning symptoms of Breast Cancer

  • Lump in your underarm or breast
    A persistent presence of a lump that doesn’t go away after your menstrual cycle is the first of many breast cancer symptoms. These lumps are usually painless and can only be visible through a mammogram before you can feel or see them.
  • Swelling in the collarbone, armpit or breast
    Swelling in your collarbone or the armpit is a symptom of spread of breast cancer to the lymph nodes. Let your doctor examine the swelling as it may be an indicator of inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Nipple Discharge
    If the discharge is occurring without pressing the nipple or if there is blood in the discharge, then you should visit the doctor as it may be related to breast cancer and it needs immediate treatment.
  • Tenderness or pain in your breast

 Lumps in the breast are  generally painless. If you feel tenderness or pain in the breast, it can be a sign of cancer. An indented or flat area on your breast could also be a tumour that you can’t feel or see.

People with the above symptoms should immediately seek out medical advice through a breast cancer diagnosis. Research indicates that certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Following are some tips to prevent breast cancer.

  • Limit Alcohol
    The higher the alcohol intake, greater is the risk of development of breast cancer. The general recommendation is to limit your alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day.
  • Avoid Smoking
    Evidence suggests a connection between breast cancer risk and smoking, specifically in premenopausal women.
  • Manage your weight
    Being obese or overweight enhances the risk of breast cancer. This is particularly true if obesity occurs later in life, especially after menopause.
  • Be Active Physically
    Physical activity can help regulate a healthy weight which helps in avoiding a breast cancer diagnosis. You should aim for at least 160 minutes a week of moderate physical exercise or 80 minutes of energetic aerobic activity every week.
  • Breast-Feed
    Breastfeeding plays a pivotal role in breast cancer prevention. The longer duration you breast-feed, the higher the protective effect.
  • Put a limit on hormone therapy
    Combination hormone therapy for more than five years can increase breast cancer risk. If you are under menopausal treatment, consult your doctor for medications and non-hormonal therapies.

Final thoughts

Be observant about breast cancer symptoms in the body. If you detect any alterations in your breasts, such as skin changes or a new lump, ask your doctor when to begin screening procedures and mammograms based on your personal as well as family history. Treatments are getting better and most importantly we now know more ways to prevent the disease.

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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