One in eight women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
That makes the disease second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer for women.
Since it is so common, it’s important to look out for signs and get screened regularly, since in many cases, there are no signs present before diagnosis.
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Below are common signs to look out for that could be associated with breast cancer.
- What are the symptoms associated with breast cancer?
- Do I need to get screened if I’m not experiencing any symptoms?
- Is a self-exam sufficient?
- At what age should I start getting screened for breast cancer?
- What should I do if I experience one or more breast cancer symptoms?
1. What are the symptoms associated with breast cancer?
There are many symptoms that could be associated with breast cancer. It is important to note that just because you experience symptoms, doesn’t mean you have the disease.
The symptoms you’re experiencing could be the result of something else.
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On the other hand, just because you aren’t experiencing one of the symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have breast cancer. That is why getting screened is so important.
The CDC indicates that breast cancer symptoms include the following.
- New lump in breast or underarm
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple
- Pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge, other than breast milk
- Change in shape or size of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
2. Do I need to get screened if I’m not experiencing any symptoms?
The short answer is yes. Even if you aren’t experiencing any direct symptoms, you should still get screened for breast cancer.
This is most commonly done through a mammogram.
“Many women diagnosed with breast cancer never have any signs or symptoms, which is why getting an annual screening mammogram is so important,” Dr. Megan Kalambo, associate professor at the Department of Breast Imaging at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, told Fox News Digital.
“Mammograms are often able to detect early-stage breast cancer before any symptoms,” she said.
3. Is a self-exam sufficient?
Many often point to a self-exam to test for breast cancer, although that method is not reccommended.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) no longer recommends a clinical breast exam or a self-breast exam as a screening method for women in the United States, according to the organization’s website.
4. At what age should I start getting screened for breast cancer?
The age at which mammograms should begin is not agreed on by experts. That said, it has been shown that breast cancer risk increases with age, most commonly being diagnosed after the age of 50, according to the CDC.
The age at which you start getting routinely screened for breast cancer should be a personal decision, taken in consultation with your doctor.
A common age to start getting routine mammograms is 40 and older.
5. What should I do if I experience one or more breast cancer symptom?
If you do experience one or more breast cancer symptom, it’s important to contact your doctor right away.
Even though the symptom you are experiencing may not be related to breast cancer, it’s important to get checked out just in case.
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