If you’ve been noticing pink ribbons everywhere, that’s because it’s breast cancer awareness month! It’s that time of year again to honor those who have fought the hard battle with breast cancer and to raise awareness, so others know how to catch it early. Breast cancer risks can increase with age and about a third of breast cancer diagnosis occurs in women aged 70 and older.
“At Fedelta part of our responsibility is to not only care for seniors when they need us but to also educate them and their loved ones about how to protect themselves from possible health risks,” says Matt Helbert, Director of Clinical Services. “This breast cancer awareness month, be sure to know the signs, stay vigilant and educate your loved ones.”
So many people’s lives have been affected by breast cancer. In the United States alone, one in eight women will be officially diagnosed with an invasive type of breast cancer. It’s important to note that breast cancer isn’t just limited to women. Although rare, men can also develop breast cancer, especially if there’s a family history among men. The signs of breast cancer in women are the same as in men. Here are the early signs of breast cancer and the types of breast cancer you may encounter.
The reason you’re encouraged to do a self breast exam every month is to check for new developments or pain that may not have been present the month previous. Performing your breast self exam a few days after menstruation is the general recommendation; however, if you’ve gone through menopause, pick whatever day of the month you prefer and be consistent.
If you find a lump has formed in your breast or under your armpit, it’s important not to wait until next month to follow up with your doctor. It could be something benign, like a cyst or fibroadenomas, but in the case that it’s an invasive type of breast cancer, like metastatic breast cancer, you’ll want to catch it as early as possible.
When you’re looking for signs of breast cancer in women and men, you may not think of checking your armpit or collarbone for swelling. Swelling in those areas can be an indication that something isn’t right with that area at large. It may even mean that breast cancer has spread to your lymph nodes. Schedule an immediate appointment with your doctor if you experience swelling in these areas.
As you probably know, breasts are sisters, not twins, but if you notice that one of your breasts doesn’t look the way it used to, you may want to have it officially examined by a medical professional. If you notice a flat or indented area, you may be observing the physical changes in your breast tissue from a tumor you can’t feel. Same goes for skin that’s dimpling or feels marble-like under the surface.
Your nipples can actually indicate a larger issue before you ever notice a lump. If the surface or inside of your nipple itches, burns, dimples or develops sores it could be an indicator of cancer. Cancer may also present as a nipple that looks like it’s being pulled inward or a nipple that discharges irregular fluid.
You’re tough, so your first impulse when you feel a tingling sensation or discomfort in your breast or nipple might just be to shrug it off. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If something feels off, it’s much better to have it checked out. Catching breast cancer early can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful treatment.
Additional warning signs may vary depending on the type of breast cancer you may have. By performing your breast self-exam every month and keeping these five warning signs in mind, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to catch breast cancer early. Stay on top of your health. It never hurts to be diligent and approach your doctor with any questions or concerns.
Fedelta is your go-to resource for in-home caregivers. Make sure to reach out to one of our experts to get your free consultation today.