You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Know the signs: Why breast cancer is not always a lump

Evoke.ie logoEvoke.ie 21/12/2016 Yolanda Zaw

Breast cancer awareness © Shutterstock Breast cancer awareness While campaigns in the 90s urging women to check their breasts for lumps were massively successful, it had the unforeseen consequence of overshadowing all the other warning signs.

This has caused a sort of ignorance to spread and lead to vital delays in women seeking medical advice and treatment.

The first sign of breast cancer is not always a lump. In thousands of breast cancer cases diagnosed each year, there is no obvious lump. 

© Provided by Associated News It is important for women to look for any changes in and around the breast area and monitor them.

Jackie Harris, a clinical nurse specialist with Breast Cancer Care, told the Daily Express that women need to become familiar with their body.

‘Breast cancer is not all about lumps. They are important but some women focus their attention on looking for lumps and nothing else,’ she said. 

‘It’s more about looking for any changes, however small, and having the confidence to go to the GP sooner rather than later.’

A survey in London showed that more than a third of women had delayed their consultation for at least three months after noticing changes in their breasts because of fear or ignorance. 

© Provided by Associated News

Further research found that while most women were aware lumps in the breast were a warning sign, very few knew changes in the breast shape and retraction of the nipple were also potential signs. 

Women who delay seeing their GP by three months after symptoms risk a 7 per cent lower chance of surviving the disease. 

Breast cancer warning signs 

• A change in the skin around the breast area. There is often dimpling or indentation of the skin with the formation of wrinkles, resembling the skin of an orange. This can indicate blockage of the drainage of fluid from the breast, caused by some cancers. 

• The breast may swell and become red and inflamed.

•The nipple changes shape or becomes inverted. A rash can affect the nipple or it may weep.

• Swelling under the armpit or around the collarbone.

• One breast becomes larger or lower



More from Evoke.ie

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon