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Breast cancer: women urged to check for more than lumps

Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram

Lumps are the most commonly reported breast cancer symptom, however new research by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) has said that around one in six women (17 per cent) that are diagnosed with breast cancer go to their doctor with another symptom.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nipple abnormalities
  • Breast pain
  • Skin abnormalities
  • Ulceration
  • Shape abnormalites
  • Infected or inflamed breast

Data from University College London (UCL) found that although most women with breast cancer sought help quickly, those with ‘non-lump’ symptoms were more likely to delay going to the doctor compared to women who just had a breast lump.

Women with nipple abnormalities, ulcers on the breast, breast infection or inflammation, swollen arm or armpit, and pain in the armpit were more likely to wait longer than three months to seek help.

Monica Koo, study author based at UCL, says: “Our research shows around one in six women diagnosed with breast cancer have symptoms other than a breast lump.

“These women are more likely to delay going to the doctor compared to women with breast lump alone. It’s crucial that women are aware that a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer.

“If they are worried about any breast symptoms, the best thing to do is get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible.”

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