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In general, breast cancers could fall into 4 categories based on the presentation:
1. With no external signs but picked up on screening with mammography or ultrasound.They are non palpable,pre clinical.
2. This group present with symptoms mostly a lump in the breast mostly upper outer quadrant,but there is no hard and fast rule.
3. Group is called locally advanced where the swelling has gone beyond an operable stage(over 5 cms or with skin ulcers or tethering or massive lymph nodes ulcerating or not but with no features of dissemination)
4. These are the patients in whom the disease has spread to Liver,Lung,Brain ,Bones,Viscera or any other organs.Hence the signs and symptoms differ.
In general AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) describes it in the following way.
According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast pain
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk
- A lump in the underarm area
These changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous, such as an infection or a cyst. It’s important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor.
One should practice self examination.All those who are having menstruation should examine breasts during mid cycle and post menopausal women on any fixed day of the month regularly.
Do not ignore warning signs
Many a time it save lives. As a surgical oncologist and re constructive surgeon,and a specialist in breast diseases,and an ardent believer or breast preservation treatment protocols(Cosmetic oncology). I feel over 99% of the times breast preservation is possible without jeopardising oncological benefits,in those whom early detection is done.
Please remember,breast cancer is a younger lady's problem.
Share this information,it may help another person too.
- Dr. Thomas Varughese
MS, FICS (Onco) FACS
Oncologist & Surgeon (Specialized in Reconstructive Surgery)