Experts are warning that women need to be aware of breast cancer symptoms that aren’t lumps – because around one in six cases of breast cancer starts with something else.
We all know that we should regularly check our breasts for lumps, but researchers want to raise awareness of other potential cancer indicators to enable women to get treatment as soon as possible.
Other warning signs that should always prompt a trip to the doctor’s include changes to nipples, swellings in the armpit or sores on the skin of the breasts.
In a study, the researchers at University College London found that women with non-lump symptoms are more likely to put off visiting their GP.
“This could be because people are simply unaware that breast cancer can present in many different ways, not just through the presence of a lump,” says Dr Kennedy.
With a disease like breast cancer, it’s essential to be diagnosed as early as possible so that a treatment plan can be developed and started.”
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, with around 150 cases being diagnosed every day. Since the late 1970s, breast cancer rates in Great Britain have risen by more than half – but great strides in medical research mean that about nine in every 10 female sufferers can expect to live for at least five more years.
What to look out for (that’s not a lump)
See your GP if you notice:
- A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
(Via NHS Choices.)
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