January 01, 2022

7 Signs to Look Out for When Doing Breast Self-Exams

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While the death rate from breast cancer has dropped from around 34 per 100,000 women in the United States to around 20, it’s still the second-leading cause of cancer death in women behind lung cancer.

But survival rates have risen, primarily due to awareness—both from self-exams and to encourage women over the age of 40 (or younger if deemed high-risk) to get annual mammograms.

Overall about one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, so catching it early is key. In addition to performing self-exams, be keenly aware of any changes in appearance or feeling around the breasts, and don’t hesitate to have it checked out.

Center’s Healthcare has a look at seven signs that shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to changes in your breasts. While the chances are that it’s not cancer, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Lumps or Thickening

Either of these feelings in the breast itself or in the underarm area should be addressed.

  1. Size or Shape Changes

This should be fairly noticeable, and if there’s no other explanation for it, check with your doctor.

  1. Nipple Changes

Watch for a sore near the nipple or if the nipple itself turns inward.

  1. Fluid Leaks

Any fluids (besides breast milk) leaking out should be checked, especially if it’s bloody or coming out of just one nipple.

  1. Dimples or Other Marks

Also watch for a dimple or puckering in the skin on the breast, especially if the dimples look like the skin of an orange.

  1. Irritation

Unexplained skin irritation anywhere on the breast, nipple, or areola.

  1. Pain

Any pain in the breast that doesn’t go away is something that needs to be checked by your doctor.

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