Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Regardless of the type of breast cancer, a PET/CT scan is an important tool that can be used to treat it. As the cause of breast cancer is still unknown, early detection of breast cancer is of vital importance in breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer usually first becomes evident as a lump on the breast or a spot that is evident on a mammogram (breast examination). In order to detect breast cancer in its early stages, the American Cancer Society recommends these actions:
- For women between the ages of 20 and 39, it is recommended that a physician or another qualified health care practitioner perform a clinical breast examination every 3 years.
- For women who are 40 or order, it is recommended that a physician or another qualified health care practitioner perform a clinical breast examination and mammogram annually.
- For pre-menopausal women, it is recommended that they perform a breast self-examination every month, usually in the week after their period ends.
- For post-menopausal women, it is recommended that they perform a breast self-examination every month, by picking a particular date each month for it to be performed.
- Screening mammograms should be performed regularly and for women who are 40 or older, it should be performed annually. Mammograms are a special kind of x-ray that is designed to examine breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a condition that usually has no symptoms associated with its early stages and most of the time symptoms only become apparent at a later stage.
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- The presence of a lump in the breast or underarm area
- Swelling or thickening in the breast or underarm area
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
- Ridges or pitting of the breast in which breast skin looks like an orange peel
- Nipple discharge or tenderness
- Nipple bleeding
- Nipple inversion, in which it is pulled back into the breast
- Changes in the look or feel of breast skin, areola, or nipple
In advanced cases of breast cancer, symptoms may also include:
- Bone or back pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Presence of swollen lymph nodes underneath the arm