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Symptoms of Breast Cancer and Self Examination

Breast cancer has become a very common disease that attacks women. It is essential for all women to know those symptoms of breast cancer and how to examine themselves.

Identifying one or more of the symptoms does not confirm the presence of the disease, but even an iota of doubt that arises must be checked with your physician in order to stay safe.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer and Self Examination
Symptoms of Breast Cancer and Self Examination

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

  1. Presence Of Lump

Lumps are the first signs of breast cancer in most cases. However, there are some lumps which are non malignant in nature. Hence one needs to know everything it is to know about lumps.

  • Presence of a lump in the breast region.
  • Presence of a lump in the mammogram report that could not be felt during self examination.
  • Presence of lump that seems to be stuck to the spot and is not movable.
  • Presence of a lump that is not painful.
  • Presence of a hard lump in the armpit.
  1. Changes In The Shape And Size Of Breast

Every woman knows her breast well and most women are aware that both their breasts may not be of the same size. Hence these are not points to be worried about.

But having said that, if a woman notices that her breast is suddenly becoming big or is changing in shape, that’s a cue to meet her doctor.

  1. Changes In The Skin

When a woman feels that the skin of the breast looks pinker or redder than usual, if it feels like the outer layer of an orange (puckered and dimpled), if the skin on the breast or nipple itches and doesn’t react well to ointments, then it’s time to visit your doctor.

  1. Changes In The Nipple

There are some women who are born with inverted nipples. This is not a cause for worry. On the contrary if a woman who has been having normal nipples suddenly notices that they have inverted, please visit your doctor.

Discharge from nipples without handling them or if it has blood in it, it calls for a visit to your doctor.

Knowing the symptoms is good education if one wants to stay alert. In addition knowing how to examine yourself is even better. Let?s tell you how.

How to Self Examine

image courtesy Stuart Miles
image courtesy Stuart Miles

Self examination is best done on 4th or 5th day of your periods. This is when you will get the best outcome.

  1. Remove your lingerie and stand in front of a mirror that shows your entire upper part.
  2. Notice both the breasts ? their color, their size, their shape.
  3. Notice the nipple ? their color, for discharges.
  4. Raise your left hand. With your right hand examine your left breast. Do not press hard with the intention to find a lump, because breast tissues of smaller size may feel like lumps. Instead press the left breast softly from all the direction. If there are lumps you?d feel them. Press your nipple to check for discharges. It is possible to feel some residual milk in a few cases. This is not harmful. If there is any other discharge, observe its nature, does it have a smell and brown to reddish color. If not there is nothing to worry.
  5. Repeat step 4 with your right hand up.
  6. While your hands are up feel the respective arm pits with the other hand to check for lumps.
  7. Repeat this examination every month on the same day.

In case a person notices any of the symptoms during the examination, they need not panic. For all you know it may be nothing. However, if one has a doubt then they must observe well and then visit a doctor as soon as possible to wash away all doubts and concerns.

Dr Menaka Bharathi
Dr Menaka Bharathi
Dr Menaka Bharathi aka Simple Indian Mom is an Agricultural Microbiologist and helps moms to keep their family and kids naturally healthy both mentally and physically.
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