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Early Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

By Randi Morse 

Cancer is an extremely scary word. It's one of the few words that can make almost anyone white with fear. The good news is that every day cancer research is helping those who have been diagnosed with the disease go into remission. One of the most important things when it comes to treating cancer is early diagnosis. The sooner you have the support of a medical professional, the better chances you have for a full remission. Every year, millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many types of breast cancer are extremely treatable, but again, early diagnosis helps. 

Early Symptoms 

The American Cancer Society has listed some early warning symptoms that you should be aware of. It's important to note that these symptoms could be cause for concern, or they could be signs of something less serious. It's always a good idea to get anything that is unusual about your body checked by a medical professional. The unusual early warning symptoms you should look for include: 

  • Skin irritation 
  • Skin dimpling 
  • Nipple discharge (not breast milk) 
  • An underarm lump 
  • Breast pain 
  • Swelling in part, or all, of the breast 
  • Nipple pain 
  • Nipple inversion 

 If you have any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to have a formal exam completed. 

Self-Exams 

Once a girl hits puberty, she should be doing a breast self-exam at least once a week. To begin with, make sure to visually check the breasts to ensure that there is no variation in the shape or color or size of them. If there's any dimpling or bulging, or it's discovered that a nipple has changed its position or color, you should speak with your physician about it. 

Next, raise your arms and look in a mirror to see if you spot any differences. This is the same visual examination but raising your arms changes the shape of the skin, which may make subtle differences more visible. You should then lay down and use circular motions to check your breasts for lumps. If you are unsure how to do this, your gynecologist will be happy to explain the proper technique. 

Finally, perform the same touch exam when standing up with an arm over your head. To make it easy to remember, some women opt to check their breasts using this technique while they shower. 

Breast cancer has a good survival rate because of modern technology, but it's important to do regular self-exams so that you can catch any changes, which may lead to potential problems early. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pearland, Tex.

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