October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Ali and Dr. Tamir would like to take this moment to ensure all women know how to spot the warning signs of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be almost 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in 2016 and over 40,000 deaths associated with the condition. Early detection plays a crucial role in your ability to make a full recovery from breast cancer, making it important that you take the proper steps to identify the warning signs.
While going for mammograms is an important part of a breast cancer prevention regimen, you should also regularly examine your breasts to detect signs that may be indicative of cancer. The warning signs for breast cancer are varied, and not all women will exhibit every one of these indicators. However, if you experience any of the following, it is important to schedule an exam with your doctor at once:
- Lumps, hard knots or thickening inside the breast or underarm region
- Changes in the size or shape of your breast
- Warmth, redness, darkening or swelling in your breast
- Itchy, scaly sores or rashes on the nipple
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin on your breast
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Sudden onset of pain in one spot of your breast that does not subside shortly
- Sudden, unexpected nipple discharge
It is important to understand that these symptoms do not always mean you have cancer. Often, they may be caused by a benign condition. However, it is important to see your doctor to be on the safe side if you experience any of the above-mentioned warning signs.
Lumps, in particular, are a warning sign that can be caused by a condition other than cancer. Breast tissue has a bumpy texture by nature, and it is common for women to have some lumpiness in their breasts. If this lumpiness can be felt throughout your breast and it feels similar to your other breast, it is likely not a sign of cancer. However, lumps which are harder or feel different than the rest of your breast tissue may be a cause for concern. These lumps should be examined by a doctor immediately.
Similarly, nipple discharge is a symptom that may occur normally among healthy women. It is often a natural reaction that occurs when the nipple is squeezed. However, nipple discharge may be a sign of cancer if it:
- Is clear or bloody (not milky)
- Occurs in only one breast
- Occurs when your nipple has not been squeezed
If any of these situations develop, you should see your doctor at once.
Dr. Ali and Dr. Tamir regularly perform breast reconstruction to restore a natural breast appearance after a mastectomy to treat breast cancer. This procedure is often an important component of the healing process, and it can help you restore your sense of femininity after a mastectomy. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can learn about your breast reconstruction options by speaking with Dr. Ali and Dr. Tamir during a consultation at our office in Phoenix.
Please contact Mosharrafa Plastic Surgery using the form on this page or call 602-513-8133 today to schedule your breast reconstruction consultation. We serve patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, Arizona.