Detecting breast cancer can be difficult. That’s because in its early stages, this disease often shows no symptoms. Your best defense against breast cancer is knowledge: Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an essential part of breast health.

Monthly physical self-exams can reveal a lump in your breast or underarm. And although screenings are critically important for detecting breast cancer, mammograms do not find every type of breast cancer. All the more important to be mindful of changes that occur in your breasts and to recognize the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

What are the initial signs of breast cancer?

A new lump or mass on the breast is the most common sign of breast cancer. Other possible symptoms of the disease include:

  • Breast swelling on all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (can resemble an orange peel)
  • Pain in the breast or nipple
  • Retracting nipple (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)

Although any of the above symptoms can be caused by conditions other than breast cancer, if you’re experiencing them, talk to your doctor right away. Also note that even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt, breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling in those areas. Swollen lymph nodes should always be checked by a health care provider.

Local teams of specialists stand ready to help you fight breast cancer

If you’re facing a breast cancer diagnosis, having a team of experts on your side is a great start. Having that team nearby is even better. Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division makes your care as accessible as possible. We are a dedicated team of cancer specialists who share a commitment to excellence by pooling our diverse backgrounds and experiences to provide breast cancer treatment in East Brunswick, Edison, Hamilton, Monroe Township, Somerset and Somerville. From complete support to open communication and education to constant, personalized attention, we’ll be by your side from day one.

Call 888-824-8312 now to schedule an appointment, or click here to find a location near you.

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