SYMPTOMS / DIAGNOSIS
Breast cancer symptoms vary widely—from lumps to swelling and skin changes—yet many breast cancers may not have any obvious symptoms. In addition, symptoms that are similar to those of breast cancer may be the result of non-cancerous conditions such as an infection or a cyst.
A breast self-exam should be an important part of your monthly health care routine and you should see your doctor if you experience any breast changes. If you are over 40 or at a high risk for the disease, you should also have an annual mammogram as well as a physical exam by a doctor. Remember that the earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better your chances are of beating it.
The actual process of diagnosis can take weeks and may involve a variety of tests. Waiting for the results may feel like a lifetime and, dealing with the uncertainty during this period can be stressful. However, once you understand the specifics surrounding your condition, you will be better equipped to make the right decisions. You and your doctor can then work together to formulate a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.