Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world, mainly affecting women, and occasionally men. The risk of developing this disease increases with age, but early detection significantly increases the chances of survival.
Data shows that the majority of cases occur after age 40, which is why you should get tested regularly. However, there are also cases reported at much younger ages, and unfortunately, these cases tend to be more aggressive. Regardless of age, early detection is key to early treatment. This is why health experts recommend learning to identify the common and not so common symptoms that occur at each stage of the disease so that it can be detected early.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer include lumps in the breast, changes in structure, skin changes, nipple discharge with a foul-smelling fluid, among others. However, the American Cancer Society states that there are also some rare symptoms that should be carefully analyzed by a specialist because even if they appear to be symptoms of other health problems, they could be indicative of breast cancer. Do you know the rare symptoms of breast cancer that you should be looking out for?
Itching, redness and pain
It’s normal to experience pain and sensitivity in the breasts, as well as minor itching before and during your period. However, if these symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor as they could be a sign of breast cancer. In general, these symptoms occur with inflammatory cancer, which produces swelling, itching and pain in the chest area, as well as more obvious symptoms like scaly skin, cellulitis, or small blue spots on the skin, among others. In this case, it’s important to act immediately because it is a sign of a type of cancer that progresses quickly.
Back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and the last thing we want to think is that it could be is breast cancer. Experts note that patients diagnosed with breast cancer reported feeling pain in the upper back, between the should blades, before any other symptoms of the disease. It’s really important to be aware that some types of cancerous tumors often develop deep within the breast tissue, causing pain in the back or ribs. It’s also reported when there is metastasis, which is when the disease spreads.
Pain and sensitivity in the armpits
One of the first areas of the body to show signs of breast cancer is the armpits. Many studies show that the lymph nodes in the armpit may indicate cancer, just like the lymph nodes in the neck and throat can indicate the flu. Swollen, painful lymph nodes in the armpit can be an early sign of breast cancer, long before symptoms are noticed in the chest area. The first thing you should do is to compare your armpits and determine if there is any difference or discomfort. If there is any obvious difference, it’s important to consult your doctor. Of course, as in all cases, these symptoms do not always mean breast cancer.
Changes to the nipple and discharge
One area of the breast where cancer is most obvious is below the nipple. The presence of cancer in breast tissue can cause changes in appearance and sensitivity. The nipple may also have an unusual texture and feel more tender. Another obvious sign is the secretion of fluid, blood or milk when not lactating. This happens when the tumor forms in a milk duct or behind it. In both cases, a medical exam and observation are important to treat it in time.
Changes in shape
Many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer noticed obvious changes in the shape of their breasts. For example, one remained round while the other took on an oval shape. There are also cases of women who noticed changes on just one side of the breast, making it look uneven. These irregularities in the breasts are usually more noticeable when wearing a bra. For these cases, you should conduct a breast self-exam and consult a specialist.