I feel a 'lump'!
This section - Journey of Breast Cancer - gives a complete perspective of a breast cancer patient, right from the time, the lump was first felt and she made a isit to the doctor, till the end of her treamtent leading to freedom from cancer. Here, we attempt to explain everything related to breast cancer and its treatment, from symptoms to tests, from surgery to other treamtent etc. The idea of describing it in a form of a journey was to make it more interesting to read.
The first symptom which more than 95% of women with breast cancer present, is a 'lump'. A lump is a hard knot or mass in the breast. It distinctly feels hard from the surrounding breast tissue. Most of these lumps are painless, though an occasional one may still have some pain.
So this brings us to the question that what are the common symptoms of breast cancer?
- Lump: A hard mass or a lump in the breast is the most common presenting symptom for more than 95% women.
- Lumpish 'feel': Sometimes, a clear cut hard lump is not felt by hand. But one area of breast feels reasonably hard than rest of the breast tissue.
- Nipple Retraction: When a cancerous tumour is located just behind the nipple, it tends to pull the nipple 'inwards'. Normally, we can pull the nipple outwards by a gentle pull, but here, when there is a tumour behind it, the nipple appears stuck below and wont get pulled. This is called a retracted nipple
- Change in skin texture: Occasionally, when the cancer is deep seated, it tends to get missed as a lump cannot be felt clearly. Over time, it grows in size and affects all 'lymphatic' drainage of the skin of the breast and either a part of whole of the skin of the breast becomes like an 'orange peel'.