BICRAD is dedicated to spreading breast cancer awareness during not only the month of October but every month. Our Women’s Imaging team is dedicated to providing our patients with the best quality breast screenings and answers to their breast cancer questions year-round. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, making it a very real threat to women worldwide. The first step to fighting breast cancer is knowing the signs and symptoms of the disease – here’s where to start.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast health starts at home by becoming familiar with how your breasts look and feel. Believe it or not, most women haven’t taken the time to actually stop, get a good look at themselves, and familiarize themselves with what their breasts actually look like. It can be a huge issue later down the line because when visible symptoms of breast cancer do arrive, you can’t tell whether what you’re seeing is abnormal or simply how you’ve always looked. By knowing the difference between your normal breasts and potential irregularities that may be a cause of concern, you can become more aware of when you need a mammogram or breast exam from your OBGYN.
The most common symptom that may point to breast cancer is lumps or bumps found in the breast tissue. These can often be found by performing an at home examination, or by being identified in a mammogram or breast MRI screening. While these lumps or masses are often painless and hard with irregular edges, breast cancer can also present with lumps or bumps that are tender, soft and rounded. While breast lumps are the most common symptom of breast cancer, keep a lookout for these additional symptoms of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Why You Need To Get Screened
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or irregularities in your breasts, you need to schedule an MRI with one of our locations. If you are at high-risk for breast cancer, breast MRI’s or ultrasounds may be the best imaging test to use alongside mammography to ensure you have the most accurate and comprehensive results. High-risk factors may be family history or dense breast tissue. Doctors suggest undergoing a mammogram annually to ensure your breast health is being closely monitored and any cancerous cells are caught early.
Breast cancer is scary, but with early detection, it is often a very treatable condition. The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to stay informed, check yourself regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and follow the recommended screening guidelines, not just during October but throughout the whole year. Contact one of our locations to schedule your annual mammogram and be proactive about your breast health!