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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Warning Signs, Stages And Risk Of Breast Cancer In Both Men And Women

Breast cancer awareness month 2020: Breast cancer can affect both men and women. But the risk in men is very less. Read here to know warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer in both men and women.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Warning Signs, Stages And Risk Of Breast Cancer In Both Men And Women

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A lump is the first significant sign of breast cancer


  1. The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  2. Women with family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk
  3. You should not ignore the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer

The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month tires to create awareness about this type of cancer which affects large population of women and a few men these days. Sharp pain in the breast along with some tenderness, may have you worried if it could be something serious. A lump or mass in the breast tissue is perhaps the first thing that may make you visit to your doctor. But it is very difficult to detect any breast cancer symptoms at an early stage. Thus, every woman or man needs to be aware of other possible changes to the breast or nipple.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020: Warning signs, stages and risk in men

What causes pain and tenderness?

Breast pain or sharp throes in the breast is very rarely the first noticeable symptom of breast cancer. There can be several other reasons behind this pain. Some of these are-

Breast Abscess

  • Infertility treatments
  • Consumption of birth control pills
  • Breast cysts
  • The fluctuation of hormones caused by menstruation
  • Large breasts accompanied by neck, shoulder, or back pain stress

It is difficult to detect breast cancer in its early stage
Photo Credit: iStock

Stages of breast cancer:

Stages can be divides into two parts:

Non-invasive cancer, also referred to as stage 0, is cancer that does not spread from the original tissue.

Invasive or infiltrating cancer, categorized as stages 1, 2, 3, or 4, is cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues.

Also read: Breast Cancer: Understanding The Different Stages Of This Cancer From 0 To IV

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:

Perhaps a lump in the breast is generally associated with breast cancer, but there can be several possible reasons behind it. Signs and symptoms may also vary from individual to individual. Some early warning signs of breast cancer include:

  • Painless lump in women older than 40 years of age and rarely in younger ones also
  • Changes in skin - visible swelling, redness, or prominent differences in one or both breasts
  • Change in shape of the breast(s)
  • Frequent pain in/on any part of the breast
  • Changes in the appearance of the nipple(s)
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Formations of lumps Arm pit
  • Irritated or itchy breasts
  • Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
  • Redness of the breast skin

Strong pain and lump in breast can be the signs of breast cancer
Photo Credit: iStock

Note that other benign conditions may have caused these changes. For instance, change in the texture of the skin on the breast area may be caused due to a skin condition like eczema. In some cases, swollen lymph nodes may be caused by an infection in the breast or other illnesses.

Also read: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020: How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed? Expert Explains

Men and breast cancer:

Breast cancer is rarely associated with men. However, male breast cancer is likely to occur in rare instances at any age and probably is more common in older men.

Breast cancer can affect men too but the chances are very rare. It is because the male breast cells are much less developed than women's breast cells; breast cancer in men is unpopular. The common symptom of breast cancer in men is a lump formation in the breast tissue. Some other noticeable symptoms of breast cancer in men include:

  • Thickening of the breast tissue
  • Redness, skin irritation, itchiness, o swelling of the breast
  • Retraction of a nipple in an inward direction
  • Nipple discharge

Also read: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020: Early Detection Can Help Save Lives, Here's How

Regardless of gender, you need to watch out for possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Remember seeing your doctor for evaluation will help you determine whether something you notice is a cause for concern and will help you understand the need for medical intervention.

(Dr. Vivek Belathur, Consultant - Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore)

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