Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide and as of March 2021, it accounted for 22.7% of all new cancer cases among women in Nigeria according to a publication by ASCO. 

Just like many other types of cancer, early detection is very important and the need for regular screening cannot be overemphasized. As we join people across the world to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve listed some of the symptoms you should watch out for below.

Lump in the breasts

This has been penned down as one of the earliest signs of breast cancer. A breast lump surrounded by skin that is dimpled or pimpled like an orange and is also irregularly shaped could be a sign of breast cancer. A self-test coupled with a consultation with a Doctor would confirm this.

Pain in the breast and armpit

Although pain in the breast and armpit does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, it is important to see a doctor if you feel any unusual pain in your breast.

Nipple Discharge

Nipple discharge that is not breast milk could be another sign of breast cancer. This is usually associated with Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a form of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts.

Changes in breast skin texture and shape

This could manifest in the form of an itchy rash, redness, flaky skin, or irritation, especially around the nipple area of the breast. Breast cancer can also affect the size and shape of the breast, so if you notice any changes in the texture or shape of your breast. Please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Please note that these are only a few symptoms associated with Breast cancer. Regular self-examination is highly recommended for every woman and the American Cancer Society suggests that from age 40, women can get breast cancer screening annually.

Women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a healthcare provider right away. This is even more important if you have a family history of breast cancer or any other genetic tendencies.

Let’s normalize breast cancer screening in Nigeria!