Pay Attention to These 8 Breast Cancer Symptoms That Can Save You

Early diagnosis of breast cancer symptoms significantly improves the prognosis. In this article, learn more about the screening tests you can undertake and natural remedies to support breast cancer treatments.

Women wearing pink gathered in a group

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and the most common in women. Thankfully, if diagnosed early by identifying its symptoms or screening tests, the disease has a good prognosis. Almost all women diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage survive their disease for at least five years. Hence, early detection and diagnosis of cancer are very important.

Some women are at a higher risk of cancer. In 5-10% of patients, breast cancer runs in the family and is associated with genes called Breast Cancer Type 1 (BRCA1) and Breast Cancer Type 2 (BRCA2). If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may want to test yourself for the presence of these genes. 

Other risk factors for breast cancer include age, exposure to radiation, being overweight, having your first period before 12 years old, menopause at an older age, having your first child after 30 years old, never being pregnant and heavy alcohol consumption. 

Certain hormone therapy medications given to treat the symptoms of menopause can also increase your risk. However, having risk factors does not mean you will suffer from the disease. 

Meanwhile, many women with no risk factors can get breast cancer at times. Hence, it is important to watch out for breast cancer signs and symptoms to get early treatment and improve your prognosis. 

Breast Cancer Symptoms 

Women checking her breast for lumps
Breast self-examination can help in the early diagnosis of breast cancer

The symptoms of breast cancer may vary from person to person. Some women may not have any symptoms at all, so it is important to undergo regular screening tests after 45 years old. 

The most convenient way is to do a regular breast self-examination; you feel your breast for any lumps or odd changes. If you spot any of the following changes, make sure you see a doctor to undergo further tests: 

1. New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit). 

2. Thickening or swelling at certain parts of the breast. 

3. Irritation or dimpling of the skin. 

4. Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or breasts 

5. Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area. 

6. Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood. 

7. Any change in the size or the shape of the breast. 

8. Pain in any area of the breast. 

Stages of Breast Cancer  

A doctor showing a chart to a woman in a hospital
A doctor explaining the stages of breast cancer to a patient.

After diagnosing patients with breast cancer, doctors generally conduct tests to determine if the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the breast or the body.

The cancer is assigned a stage based on the size and location of the tumour, the spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body, grading of cancer on biopsy tests, and whether certain biomarkers are present. The TNM Staging System is most commonly used to stage cancer: 

  • Tumor (T): Size and location of the tumour 
  • Lymph Node (N): The size and location of lymph nodes where cancer has spread 
  • Metastasis (M): the spread of cancer to other parts of the body 

Other tests may be used to check if cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as chest X-rays, CT scans, bone scans and a PET scan.

Also, testing for biomarkers is done to find out if the breast cancer cells have the following receptors which determine how well cancer will respond to certain medications: 

  • Estrogen receptor (ER) 
  • Progesterone receptor (PR) 
  • Human epidermal growth factor type 2 receptor (HER2/neu or HER2) 

Supporting Recovery the Natural Way 

Breast cancer treatment primarily includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Advances in medical science have improved survival for patients with breast cancer considerably. However, there are many natural methods by which you can support the recovery process and prevent the spread of cancer, and considers cancer as an illness that needs to be treated holistically. 

Lifestyle changes 

According to TCM, factors such as strong emotions, a diet of oily, fatty and grilled foods, exposure to extreme temperatures, poor air quality, and toxic substances can lead to cancer. 

Hence, as Senior Physician He Qiuling from the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic suggests, “Don’t worry, be happy; mind your diet and enjoy group activities.” Have sufficient rest, particularly between 11 pm and 3 am when the body heals itself.

If you experience any pain, see the doctor immediately. Always monitor your body for changes. Avoid trans fats in your diet and drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins, and exercise to build up your immune system. 

Herbal remedies 

Certain herbs like prunella spike, dandelion and andrographis are used to control the spread of cancer before surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. While the patient is undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, bamboo shavings and ginger can help to relieve the side effects such as nausea. 

Astralagus, privet seeds, and millettia help infuse energy to fight against cancer. You can also improve and boost your immune system with Chinese Wolfberry, Chinese dates and Poria. TCM herbal remedies can also help to bolster your general health and vitality. 

Additionally, TCM medication may also be used after treatment to enhance recovery boost immunity to reduce the chances of a relapse. Physician He insists that every cancer patient should undergo supportive treatment with TCM as there are no side effects. However, the treatment needs to be taken under the guidance of a TCM practitioner. 

Western medicine is increasingly accepting the role of TCM as a complementary therapy in cancer. So, bolster your fight against cancer and control breast cancer symptoms by boosting your treatment with a positive attitude, a healthy lifestyle and the goodness of nature.

References

  1. Cancer Research UK. Why is early diagnosis important [online] [Accessed 3 February 2022] 
  2. Mayo Clinic. Breast Cancer [online] [ Accessed 3 February 2022] 
  3. CDC. What are the symptoms of breast cancer? [online][ Accessed 3 February 2022] 

Related Articles

The contents of the All Things Health website are for informational and educational purposes only.
Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.