Experts on what are the warning signs to reduce breast cancer | Health - Hindustan Times

Experts on what are the warning signs to reduce breast cancer

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Aug 07, 2023 02:25 PM IST

Recognising early signs and symptoms of breast cancer helps women to prioritise their health and well-being. Here are primary early signs to be vigilant about

Breast cancer is a widespread concern among women, underscoring the importance of early detection for effective treatment as recognising the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer empowers women to prioritise their health and well-being. An important fact is it can also affect men, although it is much rarer where breast cancer in men accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancer cases but since it is not as widely discussed or understood as breast cancer in women, it is essential to raise awareness about the disease in men.

Experts on what are the warning signs to reduce breast cancer (Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash)
Experts on what are the warning signs to reduce breast cancer (Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kanury VS Rao, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at PredOmix, shared, “The primary early sign to be vigilant about is the presence of a palpable breast lump. Conducting regular self-exams enables women to detect any unusual masses or changes in breast tissue. Additionally, alterations in breast shape or size, including asymmetry or swelling, should not be ignored, as they could potentially indicate breast cancer. Skin changes on the breast, such as redness, thickening, dimpling, or puckering, should be carefully monitored. Likewise, any variations in the nipple, such as inversion, deviation, or scaling, warrant attention. Unexplained nipple discharge, regardless of color, and persistent or unexplained breast pain are additional signs that require prompt evaluation by healthcare professionals.”

For women with a family history or genetic predisposition to breast cancer, he informed that being aware of the early signs is crucial. He said, “They should be vigilant about any breast changes, particularly if they occur at a younger age, multiple family members are affected, there is a history of breast cancer in male relatives, or known BRCA gene mutations are present. Most breast cancer symptoms are detected by women during routine daily activities like bathing or applying deodorant, emphasizing the importance of being mindful of breast appearance and texture and staying alert for any signs, particularly lumps. Women should promptly seek medical attention if they experience any breast cancer symptoms, regardless of severity, as delaying diagnosis is unnecessary and can worsen outcomes.”

Dr Kanury VS Rao suggested, “Regular clinical breast examinations and mammograms as advised by healthcare providers are recommended for early detection of breast cancer, allowing for timely intervention and improved treatment outcomes, empowering women to take control of their breast health.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Monica Gulati from Lovely Professional University, revealed, “The most common warning sign of breast cancer that should never be ignored is the appearance of lumps or masses in breasts. Even a lump in the underarm could be indicative of breast cancer. Breast cancer is known to spread through the lymph nodes present in the underarms. Therefore, any lump in the breast or underarms should be investigated further. Also, any kind of swelling in the breast that does not feel like a lump should not be neglected.”

She added, “Although certain conditions like some allergies, infections or even pregnancy could lead to any such swelling, it should not be taken casually, especially if it is accompanied by irritation, redness, dimpling or any unusual changes in size, contour, texture, or temperature. Any unusual discharge from the nipples that could be clear, bloody, or of any colour is also a warning signal. Further investigation must also be done in case of any inversion, itching, burning sensation or development of sores in the nipple area. Another important fact to be added here is that breast cancers happen in men also and generally go unnoticed as they are rare. So, any such symptoms among males also should be considered a red signal.”

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