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Breast Cancer Symptoms Frequently Overlooked

October is the month the world observes Breast Cancer Awareness. All over the world, health care professionals and bodies come together to educate women and men on the need for breast cancer screening. It is the most common type of cancer among women, with new cases reported every year according to the World Cancer Research Fund. There is cause for alarm and immediate intervention, hence the dedication of a month in a year to this cause.

Symptoms found early, such as a lump in the breast, can help reduce the number of deaths per year. Examination may help detect if the lump is cancerous or not. Although this is the most obvious sign one should look for, there is another that can help you detect if you have breast cancer at an early stage.

Skin dimpling is often ignored during breast examination yet can reveal a lot about the breast tissue. Doctors advise to look for things like rashes or a scab that is red, itchy and flaky. In some extreme cases, the skin can become swollen and thicken. This is followed by retraction of the nipple and skin pits. Please watch out for these symptoms. Have you ever seen an orange peel? This is what skin dimples resemble. It is caused by inflammatory breast cancer which progresses fast.

Skin dimpling can also show due to fat necrosis, where damaged fatty tissue surrounding the breast build up and cause the skin to have dimples. If this is the case, during your examination, then look out for other symptoms such as:

 Swelling of the breast

 Breast tenderness

 Pain

 Burning sensation

 Reddish, darkened appearance on either of the breasts.

Try and do a breast examination once a year or every six months to detect, prevent or seek treatment early, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. Regular mammograms and screening should be done after one is 35 years and above.

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