7 signs of breast cancer you should know aside from a lump, as more young people are being diagnosed
- The number of younger women and men with breast cancer is on the rise.
- The cancer most often causes a lump in the breast, but it can cause other symptoms too.
The number of young women being diagnosed with breast cancer has increased in recent decades, underscoring the importance of checking for signs of the disease at any age.
A review of data recently published in the journal Nature showed breast cancer is among the types of cancer that are being diagnosed in more people younger than 50.
According to one study cited in the review, the number of women and men in the US aged between 25 and 30 diagnosed with breast cancer is expected to keep increasing, based on current data.
Each year in the US, about 264,000 women and 2,400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease kills around 42,000 women and 500 men each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the American Cancer Society, black women have a higher chance of developing breast cancer under the age of 40 than white women, and are more likely to die of the disease at any age.
Breast cancer can cause nipple inversion and skin irritation
Rachel O'Connell, a consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK, which specializes in cancer care, told Insider that the most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump that tends to feel like a solid mass that's distinct from the surrounding area.
However, O'Connell said it was "vital" to be aware of the other symptoms the disease can cause.
"For example, the nipple inverting or leaking clear or blood-stained discharge, the skin on the breast dimpling – like orange peel – or becoming red and irritated, as well as the breast changing shape, can all be signs of the disease," she said.
Breast cancer symptoms can depend on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, though people can also get different symptoms for the same cancer, with some experiencing no symptoms.
The seven "warning signs" of breast cancer to watch out for — other than a new lump in the breast or armpit — are:
- Breast skin irritation or dimples
- Nipple skin redness or flakiness
- Swelling of part of the breast
- Nipple inversion, or pain around the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge that's not breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
See a doctor if your breasts change in an unusual way
O'Connell said that more often than not, these symptoms won't be breast cancer, but it is important to see a doctor if you experience any changes that are unusual for you.
Most people's breasts will feel lumpy or uneven, and the way breasts look and feel can be affected by things like: periods, having kids, losing or gaining weight, and certain medications, according to the CDC.
The CDC states that it is "important to know what is normal for you."
The 5-year survival rates tend to be much higher when breast cancer is caught early, before it has spread to other parts of the body, according to data from the American Cancer Society.
A spokesperson from the charity Breast Cancer UK told Insider that people should check their breasts for changes at the same time each month.
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