According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women age 40 and above. In 2006, over 191,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and of those just over 40,000 women died from the disease.
When breast cancer begins, there are rarely any signs or symptoms. As the cancer grows, there are some symptoms that can raise concern. Some of these symptoms include:
- A new lump in the breast or the underarm
- Thickening or swelling in the breast
- Dimpling or irritation in the skin on the breast
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or on the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or nipple pain
- Discharge from the nipple other than breastmilk
- Any change in the size or shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
There are ways that women can stay ahead of the symptoms and get early detection of any changes in their breasts.
- Perform monthly self breast exams
- Have yearly breast exams performed by a physician
- If over 40 years of age, have yearly mammogram
For information about low cost or free health screenings, visit the website for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.