There’s a reason you hear the slogan, “early detection saves lives.”
The early detection of breast cancer gives you the best chances of beating the disease. In fact, statistics show that breast cancer that’s detected early and hasn’t spread has a five-year relative survival rate of 99 percent.
If you think you’re too young to start watching for signs of breast cancer, you’re wrong. There are roughly 250,000 Americans under the age of 40 who are living with a breast cancer diagnosis. And even though it’s rare, young people are usually diagnosed at later stages and with cancers that are more aggressive.
That’s why it’s important for everyone to be aware of early breast cancer signs no matter what your age is.
Early breast cancer signs
We’ve got a roundup of everything you need to know about breast cancer symptoms to empower you and up your odds of noticing early breast cancer signs ASAP.
Signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump: Many patients are first alerted to breast cancer when they find a lump in their breast or underarm that doesn’t go away.
- Swelling: Swelling can happen even before you notice a lump. This is also one of the main inflammatory breast cancer early signs. Swelling near your collarbone or armpit could mean that cancer has spread to your lymph nodes.
- Pain: Breast cancer lumps don’t usually cause pain, but you might notice a prickly feeling.
- Indentation or flat area: If there’s a tumor that you can’t feel, it may cause irregularities in the way your breast looks.
- Changes: Breast cancer can change the temperature, texture, shape and size of the affected breast.
- Nipple changes: Discharge, burning and itching of the nipple can be a sign. Dimpling, sores and pulling inward may also be an early indicator.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired and nauseous all the time can be secondary breast cancer symptoms. Additionally, you might have unexplained changes in other areas of the body, depending on where the breast cancer spread.
Tips for early detection
You can be proactive. There are things you can do to catch breast cancer as early as possible.
- Going for mammograms as recommended by your doctor can help find signs of breast cancer before you have any symptoms.
- It’s also helpful to get into the habit of doing a breast self-exam at least once a month.
- Prioritizing a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk factors for developing breast cancer in the first place.