Breast cancer is a very serious disease to which many women lose their lives. The earlier the doctors can detect it, the easier it is to treat this malignant and potentially lethal tumor. In fact, the survival rates are heaps and bounds higher with early detection. So, here are some early warning breast cancer signs that you can’t afford to ignore. Don’t overlook these potential breast cancer symptoms and consult with a doctor immediately if you get them.
- Don’t Just Look for Lumps While Looking for Breast Cancer Signs
Doing regular breast exams is very important for early detection. After 40, mammograms are highly recommended. However, mammograms can actually cause cancer themselves due to the radiation. Also, they are not as accurate; yes, they find lumps, but they can’t tell whether the lumps are benign or not right away, which can lead to unnecessary diagnoses and treatments. A safer option is thermography as it not only looks for lumps but also checks for angiogenesis, which is a fancy term for blood vessel growth. The vessel growth indicates that the body is diverting blood flow to a developing tumor.
It has always been thought that genetics plays a major role in the development of breast cancer as breast cancer usually runs in families. And this is where thermography comes into the picture to help identify whether you are at a higher risk. The disease is actually very common among younger women. As a matter of fact, cancer that shows up in a woman’s 20s can be very aggressive. So women should start going in for checkups way before the age of 40. Getting a yearly checkup is always a good idea anyway, but many of us young women, unfortunately, put it off.
Yes, hormones may play a significant role. A lot of doctors think that breast cancer is merely genetic. However, hormones, poor diet, lack of exercise, and similar lifestyle choices cause more cases than just genetics. Hormones are also an underrated way to detect breast cancer. Many older women get their hormones out of balance when they are going through menopause. Hence, doctors may recommend taking hormone pills, which is called hormone replacement therapy or HRT. As you may already know, our bodies produce fewer hormones as we age. Many women don’t know that there are two types of HRT. Bioidentical HRT uses natural hormone chemicals to help regulate a woman’s body. Whereas, the synthetic HRT uses different chemicals that are not the same as the hormones we produce naturally. Though, extended use of these drugs can cause cancer. On the other hand, bioidentical hormones actually lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The particular hormone needed to reduce the possibility of breast cancer is progesterone; this is the main hormone that a woman needs in her body. Losing it may also explain why women get mood swings as a part of menopause.
- Know the Breast Cancer Signs
Knowing the most prominent breast cancer signs and symptoms is very important. If you know what to look for, then you can get an early detection and treatment promptly. Some of the signs include lumps, sensitivity, and pain in the breast. However, it may not necessarily be just one isolated lump. Instead, you may get swelling, irritation, dimpling, nipple discharge, nipple inversion, or thickening of the skin around the nipple. Basically, if you notice anything odd going on with your breast, you should discuss it with your doctor immediately. The occasional itch isn’t a big deal, but if it happens a lot, it could be a problem because this could indicate fluid buildup or the breast creating new blood vessels for tumors.
Poor lymph node function is also one of the possible breast cancer symptoms. Some signs of this are body rigidity, headaches, bloating, and skin problems. Cancer can even cause changes in the size or shape of the breast. For instance, they may hang down lower, look different than usual, or one may even get a bit bigger than the other. Moreover, tissue growth can cause changes in the density of the breast tissue, especially if your breast tissue was already dense. In addition to examining the breast, look at them in the mirror. As a matter of fact, look at them in the mirror from every angle. Remember, breast cancer can also cause changes in the appearance of your nipples. Watch for changes in color, size, or shape.
- Back Pain
Upper back pain that feels deep can be one of the silent breast cancer signs as well. Occasional soreness or pain is not a big deal, but when it doesn’t relent, then you should see a doctor. Sometimes new tumors put a strain on the spine and ribs when they are forming. This strain can also occur in your upper back or neck. The pressure could be a sign of cancer, however, don’t too quick to WebMD yourself. There are many reasons for occasional back and neck pain; the pain from a tumor often occurs between the shoulder blades, which can feel like a pulled muscle or a sore tendon. Try out some stretching exercises to see if that makes your back any better. If you can’t find a way to alleviate the pain, then definitely see a doctor. Don’t get scared over every little ache and pain, though. If you are experiencing this kind of pain, keep an eye on it. Keep in mind that many things can cause back pain, so don’t freak out if you get the occasional twinge.
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Your cancer risk increases if you have deficiencies of certain vitamins and nutrients. Specifically, if you are not getting enough iodine or Vitamin D, your risk for breast cancer goes up. Nearly, 75% of adults in the United States have an iodine deficiency. The fact that people often overlook the most is that iodine can also lower your risk of other cancers. Not getting enough Vitamin D can also raise your cancer risk. Taking selenium and zinc can also help with cancer prevention. In order to check for other vitamins you are missing, you should see a naturopath or an integrative doctor. They can help you identify the nutrients that you are lacking in your diet. A naturopath is a practitioner of alternative medicine; they deal with acupuncture, herbs, and many other ways of alternative healing along with diet and lifestyle counseling. Taking care of yourself can prevent many diseases. Just stay vigilant and watch out for these understated breast cancer signs.