As the world marks the Breast Cancer Awareness month this October, stakeholders have been urged to educate the public on importance of regular screening and testing so as to get an edge in the fight against the scourge.
Breast Cancer is currently the most prevalent type in Kenya and has been identified as the top killer among women, followed by cervical/uterine and esophagus cancer.
Other than being on the lookout for lumps – which are commonly considered the first indicators, there are other hidden signs that women should look out for that will assist in early diagnosis of breast cancer. Early diagnosis has been identified as one way of achieving success in treating the disease.
The signs include;
Skin texture changes
Most women aren’t vigilant about changes to the texture of their breast’s skin, but it turns out even slight skin variations could be a red flag. Watch out for any texture changes, such as a patch of skin that feels grainy or has a similar appearance to the skin of an orange peel. A rash around the nipple or skin that starts puckering or thickening are both major warning signs. Subtle changes in the skin can be due to the breast pulling itself in and trying to “wall off” the cancer. Examine the overall shape and look of your breasts in a mirror regularly. The skin on your breasts should be smooth to the touch.
Nipple discharge or changes
Unless you’re breastfeeding, have an infection, or are on certain medications, no liquids should come out of your nipple. If a milky or bloody substance shows up, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. Changes in their appearance is another cancer warning sign. Watch out for a nipple that reverts and points inwards into the breast or develops a rash.
If your breasts are red and swollen, your body is telling you something is wrong, Healthline explains. This symptom may be caused by a breast infection or inflammatory breast cancer. The former may be mastitis, a rash that usually occurs in women who are breast-feeding and will clear up fairly quickly. Redness of the skin, tenderness, and swelling may also be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is a rare but aggressive disease. If the skin on your breast turns dark and appears bruised, you feel a burning sensation, or your breasts feel heavy and swollen, you should seek medical help immediately.
Changes in shape and size
Very well says changes in size and shape may be a sign the milk ducts or lobes deep within your breasts are swelling. This may be a sign of cancer, especially if only one breast undergoes Changes. If changing size is unusual for you and not connected to your monthly hormonal cycle, you may need to get a mammogram and consult your doctor.
Keep an eye out for veins on your breasts that weren’t there previously. Dilated veins can be a sign that cancer is blocking a blood vessel. Even more subtle changes to the veins in your breasts shouldn’t be ignored. If you think something is up, get it checked out.