Friday, June 27, 2014

What are breast cancer symptoms and signs?

 "Your mammogram is suspicious for breast cancer." "Your biopsy was positive for breast cancer." These are among the most terrifying words a woman can hear from her doctor. Breast cancer elicits so many fears, including those relating to death, surgery, loss of body image, and loss of sexuality. Managing these fears can be facilitated by information and knowledge so that each woman can make the best decisions concerning her care. Optimally, these issues are best discussed with the patient's doctor on an individual basis. What follows is a review of information on breast cancer intended to aid patients and their families in their navigation through the vast ocean of breast cancer information and issues. Although breast cancer can occur in men as well as in women, this article is specifically about breast cancer in women.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor (a collection of cancer cells) arising from the cells of the breast. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women it can also affect men. This article deals with breast cancer in women.
Picture of the anatomy of the breast
Picture of the anatomy of the breast
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/25/2013

What are breast cancer symptoms and signs?

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast. In addition, the following are possible signs of breast cancer:
  • Nipple discharge or redness
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Swelling of part of the breast or dimpling of the skin over the breast
It is best to detect breast cancer before any of these signs occur by following screening mammography guidelines.
You should discuss these or any other findings that concern you with your health care professional.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Although breast cancer can be diagnosed by the above signs and symptoms, the use of screening mammography has made it possible to detect many of the cancers early before they cause any symptoms.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has the following recommendations for breast cancer screenings:
Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so as long as they are in good health.
    Mammograms are a very good screening tool for breast cancer. As in any test, mammograms have limitations and will miss some cancers. The results of your mammogram, breast exam, and family history should be discussed with your health care professional.
Women should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of regular health exams by a health care professional about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 years of age and over.
    CBE are an important tool to detect changes in your breasts and also trigger a discussion with your health care professional about early cancer detection and risk factors.
Mammography may offer less benefit to younger women than to older women. Younger women frequently have more dense breasts, and there is a higher incidence of false positive results in younger women. In contrast to the ACS recommendations, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that routine mammography screening begin at age 50. Women aged 40 to 49 are encouraged to discuss their situation with their health care practitioner to decide on the appropriate time to begin screening mammography.
Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should report any breast changes to their health care professional.
If a woman wishes to do BSE, the technique should be reviewed with her health care professional. The goal is to feel comfortable with the way the woman's breasts feel and look and, therefore, detect changes.
Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderate risk (15% to 20%) should talk to their doctor about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram.



  1. You said breast cancer can occur in men, that I havent seen or been reported. For the symptoms of breast cancer in women, I must you hit the nail on the head.

  2. Yes, breast cancer is dangerous also for men. But they have a big advantage -after treatment they look still the same. But for ladies is breastment cancer very bad. After treatment are many of them looking for plastic surgery to improve their self-esteem.