Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world today. Though the disease is lethal, early diagnosis can lead to a full recovery. However, there are some early stage symptoms that can be easily overlooked which can lead to this lethal disease reaching the stage where it becomes too late to save the patient. Regular mammography’s and self-examinations can help preventing this illness from manifesting into something more lethal, however, it is imperative that women know what signs they are looking for so that the symptoms are not overlooked.
Besides being one of the most common cancer forms breast cancer is also one of the oldest forms. Lack of information and knowledge during these times of course caused the symptoms to be overlooked. Its earliest descriptions date back to Egypt in 1600 BC. Primitive cures included removing both breasts by cauterization. Not until the 17th Century were surgeons able to make the connection between the breast tissue and the lymph nodes in the underarms. The first surgeons to remove breast tissue, lymph nodes and breast muscle were French and Scottish their work was continued by William Halsted. However, the process still included removing both breasts, the lymph nodes and muscle and left the patient in pain and also disabled. Not until the 1970’s were more sparing procedures introduced when the knowledge of the disease being systematic and localized illness come.
There are more effective cures, but there are also more effective modes of detection present. Aside from mammography tests, women should also be aware of what to look for when they self-examine their breasts. Though some of the early symptoms can be overlooked, care and knowing what one is looking for is always helpful. Rashes on the skin or a burning sensation when the breast is touched is a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, such cancer causes swelling, irritation, pain and may even leave a reddish-purple bruise. It is initially accompanied by a pre-menstrual itch like allergy. Some other forms of breast cancer include symptoms of upper back pain. The pain is located between the shoulder blades and feels the same as muscle, tendon or arthritic pain thus is difficult to distinguish. Common places for the breast cancer to occur are under the nipple, thus, if your nipple changes color, shape or emits any fluid e.g. water or blood it may be a warning sign. Lastly, changes in the breast shape, cancer frequently causes the breast to become more oval or droop more, and therefore these changes should also be carefully monitored.
If the early symptoms of breast cancer are not overlooked, then chances of early recovery and cure are high. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key factor, apart from having regular mammography’s and breast self exams women should maintain a healthy body weight, ideally a BMI of below 25. Low alcohol consumption also reduces breast cancer risks. Increasing intakes of fruits and vegetable specially eating dark leafy greens is another healthy risk-reducing option.
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