For most women, breast cancer symptoms aren't noticeable until the cancer has grown large enough to be felt. The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or mass. It's usually hard, painless and has uneven edges. Some lumps, however, can be soft and rounded. We recommend you contact your physician – a primary care doctor or a gynecologist – if you find a lump so it can be evaluated. Not all lumps are cancerous, so try not to panic. Finding out as quickly as possible can ease your mind. And if it is cancer, you’ll be that much closer to recovery.
Additional warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer can be detectable – if you know what to look for. If you notice one or more of these or anything out of the ordinary, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor.
Understanding what breast changes are typically considered normal is just as important as understanding the red flags that could indicate breast cancer. Periodic breast pain, tenderness, and heaviness are common throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you experience these feelings in both breasts and are menstruating or about to begin your cycle, these symptoms are most likely the result of normal, monthly hormonal changes in your body.
Early detection of breast cancer is key. This means starting regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms can find breast cancer well before you notice any symptoms. And the sooner breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.
Mammograms effectively detect 84% of breast cancers; so when you're given a clean bill of health you can set your mind at ease. If your mammogram detects a suspicious mass, you will likely need further evaluation so a diagnosis can be made.
If cancer is found after a biopsy you'll be seen by a breast cancer specialist and breast cancer surgeon. Compass Oncology offers specialized care for breast cancer patients in the Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA areas.