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On this page, I'll tell you what the symptoms of breast cancer are,
and urge you to see a doctor if you're wondering if you have it.

Breast Cancer Symptom
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, medical professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

A breast cancer patient of mine passed away recently. She was already stage IV when she came to see me, so there wasn't a lot I could do. She had developed at least one breast cancer symptom. She went to the doctor and got tests done, but the radiologist screwed up her report and said she was fine - of course, she went back in when it was clear things weren't going to get better. Accurate diagnosis had been delayed by six months, which limited her options.

So how do you know if you have a breast cancer symptom? The breast self-exam is one way to start. However, at least one study of hundreds of thousands of women found that only benign growths were more likely to be found in women who did regular self-exams, so at this point, we can't really advise for or against it. But medical information changes all the time, so I'd say do it. Better safe than sorry.

You may also want to check out the hoopla
about the pink breast cancer bracelet.

There usually is no breast cancer symptom for many years. Breast cancer grows slowly, taking 100 days to double in size, so it can be 8 years before you can detect it. 60% of breast masses are detected by you, the patient. Of those who find them, the younger you are, the more chance there is that it's a breast cancer symptom - it could be a fibroadenoma. There is also the clinical breast exam, done by a doctor. But most breast lumps are benign.

Other symptoms to consider include:

  • Breast discharge- this is only worrisome if it's only from one breast or if it's bloody.
  • New nipple inversion (caving in of the nipple)
  • Changes in the skin of the breast like redness, puckering, or texture are usually skin diseases but could be breast cancer.

Of women with breast cancer symptom that turn out really to be breast cancer, 7% are under 40, and 25% are under 50.

The mammogram is a way to visualize (get a visual image of) the breast to see what the breast cancer symptom might be. This test can find breast cancer 1.7 years sooner than the breast exam can, and can find growths as small as 12 millimeters. However, it becomes less effective if you have dense breasts, are under 50, or are on HRT. It's recommended more for women between ages 50 and 74. If you get one, make sure it's read by two radiologists, which studies show helps you get the right diagnosis.

You are more at risk for breast cancer, and thus should be more conscious of anything that might be a breast cancer symptom, if you have these criteria:

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor

Breast Cancer Symptom Guide