Symp­toms of breast can­cer

Jamaica Gleaner - - BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH FEATURE -

AMATURE hu­man fe­male’s breast con­sists of fat, con­nec­tive tis­sue and thou­sands of lob­ules – tiny glands which pro­duce milk. The milk of a breast­feed­ing mother goes through tiny ducts (tubes) and is de­liv­ered through the nip­ple.

The breast, like any other part of the body, con­sists of bil­lions of mi­cro­scopic cells. These cells mul­ti­ply in an or­derly fash­ion – new cells are made to re­place the ones that died.

In can­cer, the cells mul­ti­ply un­con­trol­lably, and there are too many cells, pro­gres­sively more and more than there should be.

Can­cer that be­gins in the lac­t­if­er­ous duct (milk duct), known as duc­tal car­ci­noma, is the most com­mon type. Can­cer that be­gins in the lob­ules, known as lob­u­lar car­ci­noma, is much less com­mon.

SYMP­TOMS OF BREAST CAN­CER

A symp­tom is only felt by the pa­tient, and is de­scribed to the doc­tor or nurse, such as a headache or pain. A sign is some­thing the pa­tient and oth­ers can de­tect, for ex­am­ple, a rash or swelling.

The first symp­toms of breast can­cer are usu­ally an area of thick­ened tis­sue in the woman’s breast, or a lump. The ma­jor­ity of lumps are not can­cer­ous; how­ever, women should get them checked by a health care pro­fes­sional.

Women who de­tect any of the fol­low­ing signs or symp­toms should tell their doc­tor: A lump in a breast A pain in the armpits or breast that does not seem to be re­lated to the woman’s men­strual pe­riod

Pit­ting or red­ness of the skin of the breast; like the skin of an or­ange

A rash around (or on) one of the nip­ples A swelling (lump) in one of the armpits An area of thick­ened tis­sue in a breast One of the nip­ples has a dis­charge; some­times it may con­tain blood

The nip­ple changes in ap­pear­ance; it may be­come sunken or in­verted

The size or the shape of the breast changes

The nip­ple-skin or breast-skin may have started to peel, scale or flake.

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