What Are the Early Signs of Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a common concern for many women. Being knowledgeable about the early signs and symptoms may increase your chances of catching cancer at a stage when it is more treatable.
Dr. Brenda Vozza advises women to be aware of any changes in their breasts and book a clinical breast exam in Longview, TX. Call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates, P.A. for more information or to book an appointment. We want to help you stay proactive about your breast health and provide the best possible care.
What is a breast self-exam?
A self-exam is a simple and easy way to check your breasts for unusual changes. It involves looking at and feeling the tissue to detect differences in size, shape, or texture. A breast self-exam should be done once a month, preferably after your period ends, since the breasts are less likely to be swollen or tender.
Here is how to perform a self-examination at home:
- Stand in front of a mirror with your arms placed at your sides. Look for unexpected changes in the size, shape, or color of your breasts.
- Raise your arms above your head and look for these same changes again.
- Gently squeeze each nipple to check for excess pain or discharge.
What signs and symptoms should I look out for?
There are a few common signs to be aware of when performing a self-exam:
- Lumps in the breast or underarm: Not all lumps are cancerous, but it's important to have any new or unusual lumps checked by a doctor.
- Changes in breast size or shape: Keep track of any noticeable changes from month to month.
- Dimpling or puckering: This includes any area of skin that appears dimpled, puckered, or has an orange-peel texture.
- Nipple inversion: Nipples that suddenly become inverted or turn inward could be a sign of breast cancer.
- Skin changes: Be on the lookout for redness, scaling, or other changes in the skin around your breasts.
- Breast or nipple pain: Breast cancer can sometimes cause pain or tenderness in the affected breast or nipple.
What happens during a breast cancer screening?
Dr. Vozza can provide guidance about breast cancer screenings based on your age, health history, and risk factors. During an appointment in Longview, TX, we may perform a breast examination to check for abnormalities or refer you for a mammogram, which is a low-dose x-ray of the breast tissue. Mammograms can detect small changes that may be early signs of cancer before they can be felt during a self-exam.
Women should begin regular mammograms at 40 unless there are risk factors that require earlier or more frequent screenings. Some risk factors include a personal or family history of the disease, previous abnormal breast biopsy, and certain genetic mutations.
Take action for your health
Breast cancer can be treatable when caught early, so take action and stay proactive about your breast health. Remember to perform monthly breast self-exams and get regular appointments with your doctor for breast cancer screenings and mammograms.
Do not wait for symptoms to worsen or delay seeking help. Call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates, P.A. in Longview, TX, to schedule an appointment and take control of your breast health. Dr. Brenda Vozza is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support for all our patients.