With the continued threat of breast cancer, especially in women 50 and over, it’s important you do your breast exams regularly and get your mammograms every year or two. It’s also important that you remain educated on changes in your body that could be serving as warning signs that something’s up.
No one wants breast cancer to be a reality, but stopping it early could truly be life or death. Many of us know the common warning signs of breast cancer such as a lump in the breast, but the uncommon ones are important to be aware of as well.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most surprising signs of breast cancer you should be aware of.
WARNING SIGN: A NEW MOLE OR CHANGE IN AN EXISTING MOLE.
Moles are commonly linked with a higher risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Research has also found that moles are related to breast cancer, however, as they can be influenced by hormone levels.
One study, which used data collected from nearly 90,000 French women ages 39 to 66 over an 18-year period, found that women who reported having a lot of moles were 13 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who reported having no moles.
Another study, which studied 74,523 female nurses over the course of 24 years, concluded that women who had 15 or more moles were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who didn’t have any.
Dermatologists recommend reporting any changes in existing moles, too, including sudden growth, itching or bleeding.
WARNING SIGN: A COUGH OR HOARSENESS THAT DOESN’T GO AWAY
Metastatic breast cancer, or stage four breast cancer, can be detected if you experience a prolonged cough or hoarseness. This means that the cancer has spread to the lungs. Often associated with this are chest tightness, difficulty taking a deep breath, and an increased difficulty in breathing.
Between 60 percent and 70 percent of women who die from breast cancer have eventually had it spread to their lungs, and in 21 percent of the cases, the lung is the only place the cancer spread.
Anyone who experiences a cough that lasts longer than a month, or with blood in the mucus should see a doctor.
WARNING SIGN: CHANGES IN YOUR BLADDER OR BOWELS
Breast cancer can cause hormonal changes that dry out the urethra, resulting in incontinence.
Abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea can also be associated with breast cancer. And while the stomach is typically not one of the first places breast cancer spreads, it can, in fact, happen, and an upset stomach can be a symptom of advanced breast cancer.
One particular study found a link between chronic diarrhea and metastatic breast cancer, due to the cancer spreading to the colon. While they urge the rarity of this situation, it remains a symptom not to be overlooked.
WARNING SIGN: FEELING VERY WEAK OR TIRED
Fatigue is often a present symptom at breast cancer diagnosis. One of the biggest associations is the change in hormone levels.
Research has also found that this symptom often co-occurs with other troublesome symptoms such as pain, sleep disturbance and depression.
WARNING SIGN: UNEXPLAINED BACK PAIN
Back pain can seem like it suddenly develops as you age — in fact, about 8 out of 10 people will have back pain in their lives — but it’s also a sign of breast cancer that ought not to be ignored. It can range from a dull ache to a sudden sharp pain when you attempt to lift something.
Upper back pain that feels like it’s coming from deep within the bones may be a sign that breast cancer tumors are forming. These tumors can put pressure on the ribs and spine, resulting in the newfound pain that proves persistent.
It could also be a sign that the breast cancer has spread to the spine.
Personal Cancer Risk Quiz
Sadly, most people don’t take any action to do anything about cancer until they’ve gotten a diagnosis, and at that point, the chemo and radiation (and side effects from those) will usually kill you faster than the cancer itself.
I found an online quiz that will show you your personal chances of getting cancer.
Here are a few of the questions…
All in all, the quiz takes about 42 seconds.
When you’re done you get an extensive report that goes into a lot of important detail. You also get dozens of powerful ways you can prevent cancer in the first place.
So if you have 42 seconds to spare…
TAKE THE QUIZ!
PS- Cancer will affect 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the United States- And the number of new cases of cancer is set to nearly double by the year 2050.
Don’t be a statistic. Take the quiz.