What are the Early Signs of Breast Cancer
The most common form of cancer in females in the UK is breast cancer. This fact alone can cause anxiety for many women, especially if they have a family history of breast cancer. That is why we are here to help you understand the early signs of breast cancer, and when to seek medical help.
Women’s breasts come in different shapes and sizes, so have an understanding of how your breasts usually look and feel.It is important you seek medical help if you discover any abnormalities during self-examination.
Early signs of breast cancer can include a variety of symptoms, so it is important to be breast aware. The first symptom of breast cancer in women is usually a lump. It is important to note that most lumps are non-cancerous, however we still recommend that you seek medical advice to be certain. To find out more on breast lumps visit ‘What to do if you find a breast lump’ or seek advice from your primary health care advisor or, contact us to book an examination.
Cancerous lumps can be accompanied by swelling in the breast or the underarm area. The lump may be painful, although not always, which makes identifying cancerous lumps during self-examination sometimes difficult to detect. It is important that you do not self-diagnose; this can often cause unnecessary anxiety as it is only natural to fear the worst when discovering any abnormalities. If you feel a lump, check its size and shape, and take note of any changes to the surrounding area. If you are experiencing general breast pain, you can contact us for further advice or visit your General Practitioner or nearest well-being clinic.
Some breast pain can occur when you are nearing the time of your month or post period. Other times it can be through physical training and the muscles or surrounding tissue being overworked. Breast pain is very common and is not usually a sign of cancer, although booking an examination with your GP is always recommended.
Early signs of breast cancer can include changes to the size and shape of the breasts themselves, and they may feel sore or tender to touch. Make note of any changes to the texture of the skin, such as dimpling or puckering. Redness and peeling around the nipples can also be early symptoms, although they can also be indicators of other breast conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. Other symptoms of breast cancer can include swelling of the breast, discharge from the nipples, or changes in the positioning of the nipple. If you are experiencing inflammation of the breast, rashes or redness, and your skin around the breast seems to have an orange peel, please seek medical advice as appropriate.
What to do if you are concerned
Remember, symptoms associated with breast cancer are often caused by other conditions and are not necessarily an indicator of breast cancer. Nevertheless, to be absolutely positive, please do not hesitate to have any abnormalities checked. We understand going for a breast examination can be unpleasant, leading to feelings of anxiety and worry, even though most people who visit a breast clinic do not have cancer. At Suffolk Breast Practice, we offer a calm and non-judgemental service to ensure you receive the best care and advice possible.
Most women will survive breast cancer for five years or more if it is diagnosed at its earliest stage, so catching it early is vital to ensure you have the best chance. To book an examination with Suffolk Breast Practice contact us.
At Suffolk Breast Practice it is our ethos to ensure our patients and their families are fully informed in a non-judgmental and impartial way. We understand how difficult receiving such news can be, which is why we offer an empathetic service that ensures you receive the highest standard of care.
Once a cancer is diagnosed, we will endeavour to perform all the necessary tests to be able to advise you on the best course of action. We will devise a treatment plan that will provide you and your family with information to make an informed decision on how you would like to progress your treatment.
Breast cancer can be treated with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, hormone blocking tablets and chemotherapy. This can be undertaken as surgery first followed by other treatments. In some special cases we would recommend that the patient has chemotherapy or hormone treatment first prior to the surgical procedure.
There are multiple ways to remove the tumour from the breast. In most cases we would recommend conserving the breast in form of a lumpectomy (Breast Conserving Surgery), followed by checking the lymph glands under the armpit to make sure that no tumour has gone into the nodes, checking that it has not spread any further.
Lumpectomies could be simple in the majority of cases, however, depending on the size of the breast cancer, it’s location and the size of the breast, we might have to apply more advanced forms of lumpectomy through and Onco-Plastic approach that allows us to deploy plastic techniques to achieve the perfect balance between oncological safety and cosmetic outcome.
In a relatively smaller number of patients, we cannot safely perform the lumpectomy without removing the breast, in these cases we will perform a mastectomy. If you are suitable a range of immediate or delayed reconstruction options can be offered to you using implants and internal bra type of mesh (Acellular Dermal Matrix), your own tissue only, or a combination of both.
We guarantee you will be supported throughout the duration of your treatment and will receive the highest quality of care to ensure as much comfort as possible.