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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple.
Due to the increased use of mammography, most women are diagnosed at very early stages of breast cancer, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancer is found through mammography. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider right away. Although for most people these changes will turn out to be benign (not cancer), the only way to know for sure is to see your healthcare provider. For example, breast pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer. However, if breast cancer is present, it is best to be diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is most treatable.
If you are unsure whether you should have a lump checked, it is best to see your healthcare provider right away. Although a lump may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind that it has been checked.
Source: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society, National Institute of Cancer and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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