October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an important reminder for New Zealand women to ensure they know what the breast cancer symptoms and signs are, and what’s ‘normal’ when it comes to your breasts. Having this knowledge means that you have the best chance of finding breast cancer early, which could save your life.
Breast cancer symptoms
Although most people know that a lump can be a sign of breast cancer, New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation research has shown that few Kiwi women know about the other signs and symptoms.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should get them checked out:
– Changes in breast size or shape
– Unusual breast pain
– Changes in the skin of the breast (including dimpling, redness or puckering)
– Nipple discharge
– Changes in the nipple (such as an inverted/turned-in nipple)
What to do if you have symptoms
The key is to know what your breasts look like and feel like, and report any changes to your doctor. Most lumps and symptoms turn out not to be breast cancer. However, even if you’re not 100% sure that your symptoms match up with those above, it’s better to be safe than sorry so don’t ignore them.
Other things you should know
Although having a mother or sister who has had breast or ovarian cancer at a young age does increase the risk of having breast cancer yourself, it’s still possible to get breast cancer without any family history of the disease. This is why it’s important for all women from the age of 20 to remain vigilant and keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – marin