Stand in front of a mirror, with hands on hips. Look to see if:
- Your breasts are their usual size and shape; also make sure that
neither looks inflamed.
- There is any dimpling, bulging, or puckering of the skin.
- Your nipple has turned inward, or moved from its original position.
- Your breasts show signs of rash, sores, or redness.
- Either nipple has any discharge when gently pinched.
*Spiral turns, from nipple out to armpit. *Rows like mowing the lawn, from right to left. *In the shower, makes feeling possible lumps easier with soap and water.
What to look for:
Your menstrual cycle usually causes this change in breast condition. Water retention can cause both pain and a bulky feeling in breast tissue.
- Overall small lumps and a bumpy/grainy texture
If both breasts have the same roughness in the areas around the nipples and the part of the breast towards the shoulders and axilla, its possible that you have fibrocystic breasts. As the doctor about this harmess condition.
- A lump or lumps that feel like a flexible egg and is able to be moved underneath the skin.
It is possible that this is a cyst. A cyst can feel hard on the outside and squishy in the center. Varying in size, a cyst is a harmless ac filled with liquid. Sometimes they are tender to the touch. Cysts are more common in women appreaoching menapause.
- Single, solid lump that feels round and can be moved
This may be a fibroadenoma, a painless and harmless tumor made of cells and connective tissue. Varying in size from a small gumball to a a baseball, fibroadenomas are more frequently found in women with high estrogen levels; like young women or women on HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
- Overall distinct large lumps
This may be completely normal, a result of concentrated fat cells, or scar tissue. Nursing women can occasionally develop mastitis; a result of a bacterial infection due to cracked skin. Consult your doctor, to make sure that these lumps are not due to infection.
- Single, solid lump that can NOT be moved
If you have a lump in only one breast, or have irregular, hard borders to the lump, you hsould try and determine if it remains the same size throughout your menstrual cycle and if it is accompanied by any changes in the skin, like puckers or dimples. If these symptoms are all present, this is an indication of breast cacncer. Get evaluated immediately.
Skin irritation can be caused by many things; laundry detergent, perfumed creams, or irritating clothing. While prolonged irritation is cause to see a doctor; in rare cases, this can be a symptom of Paget's disease, an uncommon form of breast cancer.
- Puckering or discharge of the nipple
An inverted or changed nipple may be a sign of breast cancer. Persistent clear or bloody discharge from one nipple may indicate cancer in your breast ducts.