Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and affects hundreds of thousands each year. According to statistics, one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but there aren't always symptoms.
Fortunately, early detection of breast cancer is key - not to mention the closest thing to prevention. A cancerous tumour in your breast is much easier for your doctor to treat if you catch it while it's still small and growing.
Follow these top three early breast cancer detection tips...
Top three tips for early breast cancer detection
Familiarising yourself with the common signs and symptoms of breast cancer
is essential for early detection.
According to the American Cancer
Society’s website, common signs and symptoms of breast cancer
• Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt);
• Skin irritation or dimpling;
• Nipple retraction (turning inward);
• Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin; and
• Nipple discharge (other than breast milk).
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#2: Even if you have no symptoms, get screened for breast cancer regularly
According to Peter M Jokich, director of the Rush Breast Imagine Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in the USA, breast cancer screenings are for women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease but still want to be sure that cancer that you haven’t spotted yet isn’t lurking.
If you’re at high risk of breast cancer, but don’t have any symptoms, you should consider committing to the following three kinds of routine screenings:
• Clinical breast exams (you should go for this exam once a year after you turn 40);
• Breast self-exams (your doctor can provide you with information on how to perform breast self-exams at home); and
• Mammograms (according to experts, this is the one exam that women should never, ever skip!).
#3: Consider other breast cancer tests if you do have symptoms
For women with signs and symptoms of breast cancer – for example, “feel a lump, have redness on the skin of their breast, or have a discharge from the nipple” – Dr Jokich recommends the following breast cancer tests:
• Diagnostic mammograms;
• MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging); and
Remember – early detection of breast cancer can save lives!