Breast cancer is second most common cancer in women, after melanoma. While your risk for developing breast cancer increases with age and if you have a family history of breast cancer, anyone can develop breast cancer at any age.
However, regular screening mammography and breast self exams can help detect breast cancer early when it is most treatable and most curable.
Breast cancer symptoms
Common symptoms of breast cancer include the following:
- Lump in breast or underarm
- Breast swelling
- Skin irritation or changes
- Inverted nipple
- Nipple discharge
Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. But you should see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Early cancer may have no symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend that women over 40 years of age undergo an annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer.
How can I get help for breast cancer?
If you have breast cancer symptoms, your doctor will likely order imaging tests. These tests help your doctor see your breast in more detail:
- Breast ultrasound
- MRI of the breast
If one of these tests shows something abnormal, your doctor will order a breast biopsy. A biopsy removes cells from your breast to test for cancer. If abnormal cells are found, your doctor will refer you to a breast cancer specialist.