Signs of Breast Cancer

It takes a long time for a cancerous cell in the breast to form a tumor and for a specialist to detect it during an examination or radiological examination. Women are usually at least 1 cm. They can recognize a mass that has reached a large size thanks to the manual control method. Today, most breast cancers can be detected by palpation. Cancerous masses are hard, have irregular edges, a rough surface and do not move freely within the breast tissue. If the cancer has metastasized (spread) to distant organs, these rarely constitute the first sign of breast cancer. The most common sites of spread of breast cancer are the hip and spine bones, lung and liver.
However, some patients have none of these symptoms and the cancer can only be detected by mammography. If at least one of the following symptoms is present, a specialist should be consulted immediately.

Major Symptoms that may be a Sign of Breast Cancer

  • Palpable mass in the breast or armpit (hardness, swelling)
  • Discharge from the nipple (bloody or transparent color from a single duct)
  • Inward retraction, collapse or deformity of the nipple
  • Changes in the skin of the nipple (peeling, crusting)
  • Sores or redness of the breast skin
  • Edema, swelling and inward shrinkage of the breast skin (orange peel appearance)
  • Breast enlargement, deformity or asymmetry or change in color (redness, etc.)

Breast Mass

Many women notice a hardness in their breasts at some point in their lives. Although cancer comes to mind first, most of these masses are benign tumors. However, each case must be evaluated clinically.
The mass you receive can be one of 2 different structures. The mass may be a sac filled with fluid. We call it a cyst. The cysts are usually larger and painful during menstruation. It is especially more common in the 40s before menopause. Another possibility is a mass filled with a different tissue; this is called a solid mass. The best way to distinguish between these two different structures is to examine the mass with ultrasound.

Nipple Discharge

Every woman may have discharge from the nipple at various times. Especially when the nipple is squeezed, yellow-green colored discharge with the consistency of boza is considered normal. Milk from the nipple in non-pregnant women is not a sign of cancer; this may be related to hormonal changes in the body. What is important for cancer is that the discharge comes spontaneously without squeezing the nipple. This is noticeable when the bra or underwear gets wet. Especially if the discharge is dark brown, black or blood-colored, this is an important finding. In such a case, a sample of the discharge from the nipple should be taken and examined in the laboratory.

Cyst in the Breast

Cysts are usually benign tumors of the breast. They range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Rare in women under 25, more common in women approaching menopause.
The cysts can be drained with a needle and the fluid inside can be examined. If it contains a bloody fluid, the cyst should be surgically removed and examined. If a cyst appears in a postmenopausal woman on hormone therapy, it should be examined by pathology, whether or not the fluid it contains is bloody.
If a cyst recurs within 4-6 weeks after being drained with a needle, surgical removal may be recommended. In addition, if part of the cyst contains a structure different from the breast tissue called solid, it is also recommended to remove the cyst surgically.

Solid Mass

Masses in the breast that do not contain fluid and are filled with different cells are called solid masses. Solid masses are more likely to become cancerous than cysts. A solid mass detected in the breast of a woman over 40 years of age is suspicious for cancer until proven otherwise and should therefore be investigated.
The mass detected in the breast is evaluated by mammography and ultrasound to investigate the possibility of cancer. It is not possible to make a definitive diagnosis with these methods. However, a definitive diagnosis can only be made by pathologic examination of a piece of the mass.

Thickening, swelling, discoloration of the breast skin

Sometimes cancer can start without a mass in the breast, directly with some changes in the breast skin. The appearance of redness, thickening, orange peel-like shrinkage in one area of the breast skin can be considered as the first sign of cancer. If you notice such changes in the skin of the breast, you should consult a doctor.

Thickening, redness or sores on the nipple

Changes in the nipple are also important for cancer. Changes such as redness and sores, especially around the nipple, may be a sign of cancer even if there is no mass in the breast.

Inward Drawing in the Breast or Nipple

In some women, both nipples may be inverted from childhood. This does not mean any disease. In such cases, breastfeeding is often not possible. Such structural defects can be surgically corrected for cosmetic purposes, i.e. for appearance only. Important in terms of cancer is the recent retraction of the head of one breast. In such a case, you should consult a doctor.

Change in the Position of the Nipples

The position of the nipples may also change. The nipple can be pulled to one side. This can also be a sign of cancer.

Change in the Shape of the Breast

Often both breasts are not symmetrical and one breast may be larger than the other. This is a normal structure. Sometimes there may also be a change in the general roundness or shape of the breasts. What is important for cancer is the subsequent change in symmetry.

A palpable mass in the armpit

A palpable lump in the armpit may be an enlarged lymph node, which can have many causes. Sometimes it can also be the first sign of breast cancer. Therefore, if you have not had a recent infection in your hand or arm, this mass should be examined.