3 Ways to Detect Breast Cancer Early

3 Ways to Detect Breast Cancer Early

Many breast cancer symptoms are invisible and can't be noticed without a professional screening like a mammogram or ultrasound. Some symptoms can, however, be felt or observed if you're being proactive about your breast health. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99% when breast cancer is detected early and is in the localized stage. To detect breast cancer early, you need to know what to look for and what important information you should share with your healthcare provider during your breast health evaluation.

Breast Self-Awareness

Breast self-awareness helps you become more familiar with how your breasts look and feel normally. With this knowledge, you'll be able to identify any changes in your breast health that should be promptly reported to your healthcare provider.

Changes to look for include:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward toward the breast
  • Discharge (fluid) from the nipple
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola

These symptoms aren't always caused by cancer, but if you do notice any of these changes or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should bring them up with your healthcare provider immediately so that that problem can be diagnosed and treated.

Well-Woman Exam

A well-woman exam with a family physician or gynecologist is recommended each year. A routine pelvic exam, pap smear, and breast exam may be performed by your doctor to check for any abnormalities. This visit is the perfect time to discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider.


Because symptoms aren't always caused in the early stages of breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends that women ages 40 and older get a mammogram each year. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and is the safest and most effective way to detect abnormal breast conditions and breast cancer in its early stages when treatment is usually the most successful.

Awareness and early detection are your best chances at finding breast cancer before it spreads. Join the conversation about breast health and share this information with your loved ones. Find more information and resources at https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/.

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