Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, and early detection is key. Dr. Sunanda Pejavar, a radiation oncologist affiliated with Sharp Memorial Hospital, encourages women to conduct monthly breast self-exams in the shower. Women should set a reminder a few days to a week after their last menstrual cycle or pick a day each month that is easy to remember.
Common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
A lump in the breast or underarm
While some lumps in breast tissue are common, Dr. Pejavar encourages individuals to see their doctor if a lump is firm, painless or feels different from the rest of the surrounding tissue.
Changes to the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin; nipple discharge or inversion; and swelling and redness of the breast or nipple can all be signs of breast cancer.
“Not all lumps represent breast cancer, and not all nipple discharge is abnormal,” says Dr. Pejavar. “Symptoms can vary, so it is important to speak with your doctor for further evaluation.”
While some factors such as age, family history and reproductive history can influence your risk of developing breast cancer, there are many factors within your control such as weight management, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
Watch the video above to learn more about breast cancer signs, risk and treatment.
To learn more or schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor or OBGYN, visit sharp.com/breast.