Statistics from the American Cancer Society show that almost 250 000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of the year, with 40 450 reported deaths from the same disease. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, with 1 in every 8 women develop the disease during their lifetime.
Being able to recognize the early symptoms of breast cancer is very important for defeating the disease. Here are the 5 most common symptoms of breast cancer:
- A new mole \ a change in an existing mole
Moles have been associated with increased risk of skin cancer, but they can also be a sign of breast cancer. One study examined 89 902 women aged 40-65 over a period of 18 years, with their moles documented at the beginning of the study. During that period, 5956 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and the results showed that women who had moles on their breasts had a 13% higher risk of cancer. If you notice a new mole or a change in an existing one, you should visit your doctor right away!
- A cough or hoarseness which won’t go away
Primary cancer is a type of cancer that grows in only one area. When cells break from it, they can spread to another organ and form a new tumor called secondary cancer. Breast cancer can spread to the lungs, and cause symptoms such as hoarseness and cough which won’t go away. Breast cancer spreads to the lungs in about 60-70% of the reported cases.
- Changes in the bladder or bowels
Breast cancer causes hormonal changes which dry out the urethra and makes bladder control harder. The usual symptom is urine leakage during coughing, sneezing or laughing, as well as frequent urge to urinate.
Fatigue is a common symptom of many cancer patients, and it’s usually present before the diagnosis. This type of fatigue cannot be relieved by rest and sleep, and it’s often severe. Cancer-related fatigue is accompanied by pain, sleep disturbance and depression, and scientists suggest that it’s created by chemical imbalance in the body due to cancer.
Although back pain is very common and may be injury-related, sudden back pain may also be a sign of breast cancer, especially if it feels like pressure on the spine and ribs which comes from the bones. It may be a sign that the cancer has unfortunately spread to the bones.