Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

BC ScanBreast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women - except for skin cancer. Early detection increases the chance that it can be effectively treated, so it’s important to be able to recognize the early symptoms of breast cancer.

Why Is It Important to Detect Breast Cancer Early?

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the quicker treatment can begin, and the better chance treatment has of succeeding. When it’s in its earlier stages, cancer is less likely to have spread to other parts of your body.

What Are Some Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Although a screening mammogram can often detect breast cancer before any symptoms occur, a diagnostic mammogram can help confirm or rule out the presence of cancer after you notice symptoms. This type of mammogram takes additional images beyond those provided by a screening mammogram.

The following are some early symptoms of breast cancer that warrant further testing, possibly with a diagnostic mammogram:

  • A new lump or mass in the breast or underarm area
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Swelling in all or part of your breast
  • A change in your skin or nipple near your breast
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Sudden nipple discharge

Changes in your breasts don’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. For example, nipple discharge can be caused by an infection. Changes do mean that further investigation is warranted so you can receive any necessary treatment – whether it’s for an infection, cancer, or any other issues.

How Can Breast Cancer Be Detected?

Regular breast exams – conducted by you on a monthly basis as well as periodically by your doctor – used to be recommended. It’s still important to know how your breasts normally look and feel so you can report any changes to your doctor for further testing.

However, this kind of exam doesn’t take the place of having regular mammograms or other screening tests. Mammograms utilize very low-dose X-rays to help detect signs of cancer in your breasts, and they’re the single best tool to find cancer at its earlier stages – long before you or your doctor may feel a lump or other changes. And after your first mammogram, which establishes a baseline, subsequent mammograms can be compared against the first to look for signs of changes.

If you’d like to have a mammogram for screening purposes or because you’ve detected a change in your breasts, make an appointment today or stop by PURE Mammography in Smith Haven Mall in Long Island, NY. We offer advanced 3D screening that’s interpreted by board-certified radiologists who are sub-specialists in breast imaging. No doctor referral is required, and we make the process as easy, comfortable, and convenient as possible.

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