Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases worldwide. This life-threatening condition affects one in eight American women and thousands of men. In 2016, it accounted for 30 percent of newly diagnosed cancers. Regular screening can help detect abnormal cells in early stages and increase your chances of survival. Mammograms are the best way to identify breast tumors early when they are easier to treat.
Statistics indicate that more than 40,450 women and 464 men in the U.S. alone died from this disease in 2013. Breast cancer is the primary cause of death among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death among Caucasian and Asian women. This form of cancer occurs when breast cells begin to grow out of control. Over time, they form tumors that can be felt as a lump.
HERE ARE FIVE EARLY SIGNS OF BREAST CANCER, WHICH OFTEN GO OVERLOOKED:
1. PERSISTENT COUGH
Dry cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat may indicate that cancer cells have spread to the lungs. This problem is known as secondary breast cancer and occurs in 60 to 70 percent of women who become terminally ill. Yet, most patients overlook these symptoms because they mimic those of other less serious conditions, such as common cold and flu.
2. A NEW MOLE
Even though moles are usually linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, it’s not always the cause. A study conducted on 5,956 women has found that those with the most moles had a 13 percent higher risk of breast cancer. The risk appears to be higher in pre-menopausal women with many moles.
Fatigue is one of the most common signs of cancer. Although this symptom may also indicate thyroid disorders or hormonal imbalances, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If it’s caused by cancer, it won’t go away when you sleep more or get plenty of rest. This condition is often accompanied by depression, poor sleep, and constant pain. You may feel weak, tired, and sluggish for no reason.
Research shows that nine out of 10 breast cancer patients experience fatigue during treatment. However, this symptom may also occur in early stages of the disease and last for months after the treatment ends. If you have low energy and feel tired all the time, see your doctor immediately.
4. DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS
Abdominal bloating, constipation, bladder incontinence, and tenderness are among the main signs of breast cancer. This disorder causes hormonal changes that affect digestion and organ function. Some patients experience loss of bladder control when laughing, coughing, or sneezing. Others report a sudden need to urinate.
Cancer puts stress on your body and messes up your hormones, which can upset the digestive system. Abdominal or pelvic pain, changes in bowel habits, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, and swelling in the abdominal area indicate that something is happening in your body. If you notice any of these symptoms, get some tests done.
5. BACK PAIN
Eight out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point. Prolonged sitting, poor posture, bad lifting form, arthritis, and injuries can increase your risk of back pain. Unfortunately, this symptom might also indicate that breast cancer cells have spread to your spine.
Menstrual changes, heartburn, upset stomach, lymph nodes in the armpit, and difficulty eating are some of the most common yet overlooked signs of breast cancer. Check your breasts regularly for lumps, hard knots, swelling, and nipple discharge. In its early stages, breast cancer may also cause headaches, loss of balance, blurred vision, constant nausea, difficulty urinating, and numbness anywhere in your body. If you notice these symptoms that don’t go away within two weeks, seek medical help.