Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. In fact, statistics claim that about 1 in 8 US women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In addition to self-examinations to check for lumps, there are other signs that you should examine yourself for. You'll need to remove your shirt and bra for a thorough examination.

Change In Size Or Shape Of The Breast

When you conduct your monthly breast examination, you should be looking for more than just lumps. You should also be looking for changes in the size or shape of your breasts. It is particularly important to look for changes that might have occurred in just one breast.

Changes In The Appearance Or Feel Of Your Breasts

Stand in front of the mirror and look at your breasts. Do you see any dimpling, puckering, or swelling on your breasts? Dimpling and puckering may make your breasts look like the skin of an orange. You should also run your hands across your breasts. Do you feel any rough spots that didn't used to be there?

Discharge From Your Nipples

Look at your nipples. While looking, answer the following questions.

  1. Can you see any clear or blood-stained discharge?
  2. Are you able to see discharge without squeezing your nipples?
  3. Is the discharge coming from just one nipple?

If you answer yes to these questions, you should schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, such as at ​Mile High OB GYN.

Swollen Lymph Nodes In Your Armpits

Lift up your arms. Use your fingers to feel your armpits. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can be an early sign of breast cancer. You should feel your armpits each time you do a visual examination of your breasts. This will allow you to become familiar with the way your armpits feel.

Sudden Development Of Inverted Nipples

Inverted nipples occur when the nipples are sunken inwards instead of protruding out of the breast. If you were born with inverted nipples, you do not need to be alarmed. However, if you suddenly develop inverted nipples, it might be an issue that you should discuss with your doctor.

It is important that you perform monthly breast examinations. These monthly exams will allow you to become familiar with your breasts. If you notice any of the signs discussed above, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to determine whether those signs are something that you should be concerned about.