October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so it's a perfect time to talk about the early warning signs, how to prevent it and how to catch it early. A lump in your breast is an obvious sign, but do you know the others?
Having breast cancer is a scary thing to think about, but knowing some of the lesser known signs can ease your mind and help you be aware of what's going on in your body.
Here are seven of the lesser known signs of breast cancer:
1. Breast skin changes texture
When you're doing self-exams on your breasts, make sure to look out for changes in skin texture. if your skin takes on a scaly, red appearance, the National Breast Cancer Foundation advises to get it checked out by a doctor. The skin might look and feel like an orange peel when this happens.
Another sign to look out for is any dimpling on your breast skin. This will also look something like an orange peel, and it can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is rare but aggressive according to Healthline. If your breast skin has changed, see a doctor as soon as possible just to stay on the safe side.
3. Leaking clear or bloody fluid
You could have breast cancer if your nipple is leaking clear or bloody fluid. If you're breastfeeding and leaking milk, that's completely normal and you don't need to worry. However, if you're not breastfeeding but you're leaking a milky fluid, go in and see your doctor.
4. Changes in breast size or shape
While it's normal for your breast size to fluctuate when you're ovulating, menstruating or pregnant, you should look out for suddendrastic changes to your breast size and shape.
Again, it's normal if your nipples and breasts get a little tender around your period or when you're ovulating, or maybe they're tender all the time. But if you start feeling abnormal pain and tenderness, there could be a problem.
6. Your breasts are suddenly different sizes
Women commonly have two different sized breasts, and it's not a big deal if they've been like that forever. But if one is suddenly bigger than the other, get it checked out by a doctor because it could be a sign of breast cancer.
If you experience any changes in your nipples, you should keep a close eye on them. One fairly common thing that happens to women with breast cancer is nipple inversion (where their nipple points in instead of out). If this is normal for you, you shouldn't worry. But if it isn't normally like that, there could be a problem.
Remember, you know your body better than anyone else. If you feel like there's something wrong, you should definitely get it looked at. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Lindsey loves traveling and shopping, and her favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland. She also loves spending time with her family and cute husband. She is studying Professional and Technical Writing and is part of the content team for FamilyShare.