Women Need To Know About Non-Lump Breast Cancer Symptoms, Experts Warn

Photo: Lauren Perlstein
Women should be aware of breast cancer symptoms other than breast lumps, experts from University College London have said. Around one in six cases of breast cancer start with warning signs other than a lump, such as nipple changes, a swelling in the armpit or a change in size or breast shape. Researchers from UCL studied the symptoms of 2,300 women recently diagnosed with breast cancer and found that those with symptoms other than a lump were less likely to visit their doctor, reported the BBC. Women with the following symptoms should be checked out, according to the NHS: • A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that wasn't there before
• A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
• Bloodstained discharge from either nipple
• A lump or swelling in either armpit
• Dimpling on the skin of the breasts
• A rash on or around the nipple
• A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into the breast The researchers will present their work at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool. Their work shows that women are too often delaying going to their doctor with breast cancer symptoms, said Dr Karen Kennedy, director of the National Cancer Research Institute. "This could be because people are simply unaware that breast cancer can present in many different ways, not just through the presence of a lump," she said. "With a disease like breast cancer, it's essential to be diagnosed as early as possible so that a treatment plan can be developed and started." Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, with around 150 women diagnosed every day and one in eight women receiving a diagnosis in their lifetime. Survival rates are high, with about nine in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales surviving for at least five or more years, the BBC reported. Sixty percent of those diagnosed will live for more than 20 years and the more time that passes after a woman is diagnosed the less likely the cancer is to return. In the UK, women between 50 and 70 years old are invited to have their breasts screened every three years.

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