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Initial Stages of Breast Cancer Symptoms

June 24, 2022

Initial Stages of Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast cancer occurs when the cells of the breasts grow in an uncontrolled manner, forming a tumour. It is the second most common type of cancer after skin cancer. It can occur in both men and women, though it is more prevalent in women. Breast cancer is completely treatable if detected in the early stages. Thus, the key to surviving breast cancer is early detection.

In recent years, there has been widespread campaigning on breast cancer awareness, and it has brought about fruitful results, as the statistics suggest steadily increasing survival rates among breast cancer patients globally.

In this article, we will shed some light on the early symptoms of breast cancer.

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer may not show any symptoms in the initial stages, but being aware of the warning signs and symptoms can be a turning point in your breast cancer treatment journey. Though a breast lump is considered the most common symptom of breast cancer, surprisingly, it does not feature on the list of initial symptoms for approximately 1 in 6 women. So, let’s know what to look out for:

  • Change in the shape, size, texture, temperature, and appearance of a breast.
  • Changes in the shape and appearance of the nipple, such as inward pulling or retraction of the nipple; redness, burning sensation, or sores around the nipple.
  • Abnormal nipple discharge, which could be clear, bloody or of any other colour.
  • Breast pain or tenderness that does not go away after a menstrual period.
  • A breast lump that does not go away after the menstrual period.
  • A swelling or a lump in the armpit or around the collarbone.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. For example, about 75% of the breast lumps turn out to be benign (noncancerous), and nipple discharge can also be seen in cases of nipple infection. Hence, you need not panic, but visiting your physician is of utmost importance to rule out breast cancer, and if present, to catch it in the early stages to help get a complete cure.

Methods for Early Detection of Breast Cancer

Breast self-examination: There are no standard “normal” breasts. The appearance of breasts for each woman is different. Thus, regular self-checks of your breasts will help you know what your breasts normally look and feel like. You will be a better judge than your doctor to pinpoint any change in the appearance, size, or skin texture of your breasts. If you notice any change in the size and appearance of your breast, any pain or tenderness, any lump in the breast, armpit, or around the collarbone, any changes in the nipple, or nipple discharge, consult your doctor immediately for prompt diagnosis, even if you notice any of these symptoms shortly after having a normal mammogram.

Screening mammograms: A mammogram is a kind of breast X-ray. It can detect a breast mass much before it will be detectable on physical examination, thus going for a mammogram at regular intervals is the easiest way to catch breast cancer in its initial stages.

Biopsy: It involves resecting a small amount of tissue from a nodule and examining it microscopically to look for cancerous cells. A biopsy is the only method that definitively differentiates between a benign and a malignant mass.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your breasts and will also discuss your family medical history because some breast cancers are genetic. Your physician may recommend a mammogram and/or biopsy for further investigation if they find something suspicious.

What Are the Different Stages of Breast Cancer?

A stage of breast cancer is determined on the basis of its biomarkers, the size of the tumour, if it has spread to the lymph nodes, and if it has spread to the distant parts of the body.

Based on these parameters, there are 5 stages of breast cancer:

Stage 0: Non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In this stage, the cancer is localised to the ducts of the breast and has not spread anywhere else.

Stage I – IV: Invasive breast cancer; stages are given according to the extent of invasion of cancer cells.

Staging helps a doctor devise the best treatment approach for a patient and also helps determine the patient’s prognosis.

Treatment of Breast Cancer

Treatment depends upon the type and stage of breast cancer. Treatment can include:

Lumpectomy: Removing only the breast tumour

Mastectomy: Surgically removing the whole breast

Chemotherapy: Treatment with anticancer drugs

Radiation therapy: Killing the cancer cells at the cancer site using radiation beams

Hormone and targeted therapy: Used when hormones or HER2 are among the causative factors of breast cancer.


This article aims at spreading awareness about the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer because early detection increases the chances of successful treatment of breast cancer manifold. Doing regular self-breast exams is the best way to notice any changes in the breasts. Similarly, undergoing screening mammograms can help catch any breast mass that is not yet detectable on physical exam. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, do not lose hope. It is one of the most treatable cancers, and you can find uncountable survival tales of breast cancer patients.

Renowned medical facilities like Apollo Spectra Hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and experts to provide you with a proper diagnosis and the best treatment approach for breast cancer.

Call 18605002244 to book an appointment

How can I lower my risk of getting breast cancer?

Some of the ways in which you can lower your breast cancer risk is by maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular exercise, breastfeeding your newborn, and limiting your alcohol use.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

The risk factors for breast cancer include advanced age, late menopause, early menarche, alcohol use, no breastfeeding, late pregnancy, family history, etc.

Does wearing a bra increases the risk of breast cancer?

Though it is often discussed that wearing a bra, especially padded ones at night can cause breast cancer, there are no studies that establish a connection between wearing a bra and getting breast cancer.

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