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There are actually several types of breast cancer that a person can have but when it is all said and done, it comes down to understanding what the symptoms of breast cancer are and being vigilant about determining whether or not you have any of those symptoms.
It is important to note that every person who has breast cancer is not going to exhibit all of the symptoms listed herein. In fact, it is possible to have the disease and exhibit absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. That's precisely why it's so important to do regular self-exams and get routine screenings done in order to catch any potential problems that may exist. While some individuals do exhibit symptoms, others won't notice any symptoms at all until the cancer has metastasized, or spread, to other parts of the body. Like most other forms of cancer, it's much more difficult to treat successfully once this happens. This is especially true if it spreads to certain parts of the body such as the lungs, heart, liver, or spine. Therefore, it is imperative to be proactive when it comes to ensuring your health. Don’t put off medical screenings or self-exams just because you feel great. Obviously, if you experience any of the symptoms listed below, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
This is probably the most well-known symptom of breast cancer. Even individuals that don't routinely get screened for it and haven't really thought about the possibility of having it often know that if they feel a lump in their breast, it's time to take action. Again, this is why it's so important to do self-exams. You can do them in the shower or anywhere that you have a bit of privacy and feel comfortable enough to do so. If you feel a hard lump or anything that feels different from what you normally feel, it's time to contact your doctor and schedule an appointment. There is always a chance that it might not be breast cancer, but it's much better to make the appointment and find out that you don't have the disease than it is to wait until things get worse.
One of the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer involves changes in breast size. While every person who has the disease does not experience this symptom, some individuals who are suffering from breast cancer will notice that the affected breast is far more swollen than the breast that is unaffected. As a result, it's important to take things seriously if you notice that you have sudden swelling in one or both breasts that can't really be explained for some other reason. Even if the swelling is not accompanied by pain or a lump, it's still important to get it checked out.
In some rare cases, breast cancer can make the nipple of the affected breast look quite different. You might notice that fluid is draining from the nipple and in some cases, it might even appear to be crusted over, almost in the same manner as a cut that is infected and is now draining. In addition, some individuals who have breast cancer may notice that the nipple actually inverts or turns inside out. If you notice either one of these symptoms, it's important that you don't wait and that you take immediate action. In fact, deciding to take action quickly could very well save your life.
Another potential symptom of breast cancer involves changes in the way the skin on your breast looks. As opposed to being smooth, it can sometimes begin to take on a pitted appearance. In addition, it might appear to be thicker than normal. If you're having problems picturing this in your mind's eye, think about grapefruit or something similar. If you look at the skin of a grapefruit, you'll notice that it can be rather pitted and uneven. If you notice a similar appearance on one or both breasts, it's a good indication that you are suffering from breast cancer and need to be examined as quickly as possible.
As previously mentioned, breast cancer is far more treatable now than it was even a decade ago. Medical professionals have a far better understanding of cancer as a whole and breast cancer in particular. Furthermore, better treatment options are available. While some people still undergo radiation and chemotherapy, there are targeted therapies that can potentially focus more on ridding the body of cancer without doing as much damage when compared to more traditional treatments. Many medical professionals currently incorporate something of an all-hands approach when it comes to cancer treatment. This often includes radiation in conjunction with chemotherapy or other prescription medications, used in concert with nutrition therapy and other alternative therapies that are designed to help strengthen the entire body. As a result, more people are surviving. However, it is still crucial that the disease be caught in its earlier stages. The idea is to treat it aggressively and as soon as possible. Once it spreads, the challenge becomes far greater and in some cases, successful treatment just isn't feasible at that stage.
Unfortunately, some people have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than others. This is especially true if you have someone in your family who has also developed it. Doctors have also discovered that individuals with certain genes are far more likely to develop breast cancer than others. In fact, the link is so strong that some individuals with these particular genes elect to have a double mastectomy, even before they have any signs of disease whatsoever. This is largely because the individuals who have these genes are at a dramatically increased risk for developing the disease and it tends to be far more severe and progress at a far more rapid rate than in other individuals. If you're wondering if you might be affected by these genes, you can be screened by a medical professional and then make decisions about your health moving forward from a more informed platform.
Of course, surgery may be an option for individuals who have been diagnosed. It really comes down to the stage of cancer that the individual in question is experiencing and whether or not they have any of the aforementioned risk factors which make them more susceptible to the advanced progression of the disease. While some may opt for radiation treatment and other forms of therapy, certain individuals may find it more pertinent to undergo surgery in order to have the breast cancer removed before it has an opportunity to spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, surgery may in fact be the only option that is still available.
Since symptoms of breast cancer aren't always present, especially when the disease is in its early stages, it's important to know how to successfully manage your risk. As previously discussed, self-exams are a crucial part of managing your risk and ensuring that you stay healthy. However, it's also imperative that you receive regular screenings from a medical professional in order to catch things that you wouldn't be able to detect with a self-exam. It's also worth mentioning that you should never hesitate to make an appointment if you notice something different, even if you've just recently been screened and everything looks normal. It's also important to know that women are not the only ones affected by breast cancer. While they are diagnosed with the disease far more often than men, it is possible for men to get breast cancer and it's just as important that they be treated quickly and efficiently.
Now that you are more familiar with the symptoms associated with this disease, you are empowered to be more proactive when it comes to protecting your own health or the health of someone you love. Like most types of cancer, breast cancer is nothing to be played around with. That is precisely why it's so important that you try to stay ahead of the game as much as you possibly can. Regular screenings and self-examinations are a key point of staying healthy, as is making an appointment with your doctor at the slightest suspicion that something might be wrong. If you make an appointment and get a clean bill of health, then you can celebrate. That said, you're not doing yourself or the people who care about you any favors if you suspect that something is wrong and you choose not to act on it right away.
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