Like other malignant tumors, breast cancer at an early stage is very difficult to detect. For a long time the disease is not accompanied by any symptoms. Its signs are often discovered by chance.
Symptoms that should be treated immediately:
- pain in the mammary gland that has no apparent cause and persists for a long time;
- a feeling of discomfort for a long time;
- seals in the mammary gland;
- change in the shape and size of the breast, swelling, deformation, the appearance of asymmetry;
- deformations of the nipple: most often it becomes entangled;
- discharge from the nipple: bloody or yellow;
- changes in the skin in a certain place: it becomes retracted, begins to peel or wrinkle, its color changes;
- dimple, a hollow that appears on the mammary gland, if you raise your arm up;
- enlargement of lymph nodes in the armpit, above or below the clavicle;
- swelling in the shoulder, in the area of the breast.
Measures for early detection of breast cancer:
A woman should be able to properly examine her breasts and identify the first signs of a malignant neoplasm.
Regular visit to the doctor
It is necessary to visit the mammalogist (specialist in breast diseases) at least once a year.
Women after 40 years are recommended to undergo a regular mammogram – an X-ray study aimed at early detection of breast cancer.
How correctly to independently examine a breast?
Self-examination of the mammary glands takes about 30 minutes. It should be done 1 to 2 times a month. Sometimes pathological changes are not felt right away, so it is advisable to keep a diary and mark in it the data, your feelings based on the results of each self-examination.
Examination of mammary glands should be carried out on the 5th – 7th day of the menstrual cycle, preferably on the same days.
This should be done in a warm bright room, in which there is a mirror. Undress to the waist and stand exactly opposite the mirror, so that you can clearly see howling breasts. Relax and even breathe. Pay attention to the following points:
- Are the right and left mammary glands symmetrical?
- Did not one breast increase in comparison with the other (it is worth remembering that in the norm the sizes of the right and left mammary glands may differ slightly)?
- Does the skin look normal, if suspicious areas with a changed appearance have appeared?
- Do the nipples look normal?
- nothing more suspicious was seen?
Feeling of the breast can be carried out in a standing or lying position, as it is more convenient. If possible, it is better to do this in two positions. The examination is carried out with your fingertips. The pressure on the chest should not be too strong: it should be sufficient to make it possible to feel the changes in the consistency of the mammary glands.
First, touch one breast, then the other. Start from the nipple, then move the fingers outwards. For convenience, you can carry out a feeling in front of a mirror, by conventionally dividing the mammary gland into 4 parts.
The moments you need to pay attention to:
- the general consistency of the mammary glands – has it become denser from the previous examination?
- presence of seals, nodes in the gland tissue;
- the presence of changes, seals in the nipple;
- the condition of lymph nodes in the axillary region – are they enlarged?
If changes are found, you should contact one of the specialists:
- therapist (will inspect and refer to the appropriate specialist).
With the help of self-examination, it is possible to identify not only breast cancer, but also benign neoplasms, mastopathy. If you find something suspicious, then this does not mean the presence of a malignant tumor. An accurate diagnosis can be established only after the examination.