Our breasts are forever changing as we navigate through pregnancy, breastfeeding and hormonal waves. So it is extremely important to know how to perform a self examination.
In fact being aware of changes in your breasts and understanding the signs and symptoms of breast cancer could help save your life.
Breast Cancer Statistics In Australia
According to the Australian Government website, 2016 has seen an estimated 16,085 new cases of diagnosed breast cancer (150 of those are men).
In fact breast cancer is the third most prevalent in Australia. As such it is extremely important that we are aware of our bodies.
The good news is that if you do find a lump in your breasts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have breast cancer.
In fact, 8 out of 10 women who find a lump are relieved to learn that it is completely normal or benign.
I’ve Found A Lump – What Do I Do Now?
First things first, it is important that you familiarise yourself with your own boobs. Get touchy, know how they feel to the touch at all stages of your cycle.
Some women will find that they have naturally lumpy breasts, this is often caused by dense breast tissue.
You should see your health care provider if you:
- Find a lump or change that is different to the rest of your breast
- Discover a lump, or change, that’s different to your other breast
- Feel something that is different to what you have felt before
- Nipple discharge
Types Of Lumps Found In Breasts
If you do find a lump, do not panic.
There are many common causes to benign breast lumps.
1. Fibrocystic Breast Tissue
Fibrocystic breast tissue is characterised by lumpiness and discomfort in one or both breast. The lumpiness is due to small breast masses or cysts. This is a very common condition and completely benign.
Breast infection, also known as mastitis, is an infection that is common in breastfeeding mothers. This normally occurs when their nipples become cracked and bacteria from their babies mouths infect their breasts. Mastitis commonly causes lumps within the breasts and is accompanied by a fever.
A non-cancerous tumor which is often referred to as a breast mouse as it quite freely moves within the breast when touched. Fibroadenomas are most commonly found within women under 30 and can range in size. They are affected by hormonal changes and can disappear in time.
4. Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis is a pseudo-mass that develops within the breast. It is almost always something that forms as an after-effect of surgery of the breasts.
5. Breast Cancer
Then of course, there is malignant (cancerous) lumps and will need to be cared for by your health care practitioner.
Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Early detection is key to treating and surviving breast cancer. Therefore, the best way to aide in detecting any possible breast cancer is to keep up your self examinations and know what you are looking for:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
If you are worried or have concerns you should contact your health practitioner for a check-up.
Meanwhile, you experience breast pain here is a list of completely normal reasons why it might be happening.