What are breast cancer symptoms in young women? How to detect breast cancer ?

Being one of the most common types of cancer in females, breast cancer accounts for around 14% of the cancers which are present in Indian women. It has also been reported that in every 4 minutes, 1 Indian woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer. Yes, at this point you must be wondering how to detect if you are also suffering from breast cancer! Keep calm, as we are here for providing you a brief description about breast cancer and its symptoms and ways for detecting them by yourself. 

A brief idea about breast cancer

Breast cancer is a group of medical issues where the cells of the breast tissue divides abnormally and uncontrollably and keeps on changing which usually results to form mass or lumps. Usually these lumps form tumors which can be felt while checking and can be observed on an x-ray.

But the good thing is most of the breast lumps are non malignant which means they are non cancerous but they are of abnormal growth. Although, they are not life threatening but a few types of non cancerous breast lumps increases the risks of a woman getting breast cancer. 

Starting areas of breast cancer

Breast cancer can take a start from various areas of your breast, they are:

  • Maximum number of breast cancers starts from the ducts, which carry the milk to the nipples and are known as ductal cancers.
  • Another region is the glands, and some breast cancer starts in the glands where the breast milk is made and is known as lobular cancers.
  • A minimum number of cancers begin from some other tissues of the breast and they are known as lymphomas and sarcomas and mostly they are not considered to be breast cancers.
  • Two types of breast cancers are also there which occur less commonly and they are angiosarcoma and phyllodes tumor.

Symptoms of breast cancer in young women

  • A sudden change in the shape, appearance or size of a particular breast or in both of them.
  • Changes over the skin of the breast like dimpling.
  • Growing a breast lump or  thickening of skin which feels to be different from the other surrounding tissues.
  • Inversion of the nipple.
  • The skin of the breast turns red or starts pitting just like the skin of the orange.
  • The pigment area of the skin which surrounds the nipple starts scaling, peeling, flaking or crusting.

If you see any such changes or anything else which is disturbing you in your breast, rush to a doctor for a prompt evaluation and carry out a mammogram for identifying breast cancer.

You are not the alone to suffer

Breast cancer has become very common not only in India but all over the world. Report from Breast Cancer Statistics in the year 2018 recorded 1,62,468 cases which were newly registered and there were 87,090 reported cases which reported death. Although the survival rates are increasing but cancer survival tends to be much more difficult during the higher stages of its growth and more than 50% of the Indian women tend to suffer from stage 3 and stage 4 of breast cancer. This is because they don't perform self examination of their breasts condition every month. The post cancer survival rate in women suffering from breast cancer was 60% in India while it was 80% in the United States.

Breast cancer is becoming very common all over the world and out of 1.7 million cancer cases reported every year, 25% are identified to be breast cancers. 1 in 28 women is likely going to develop breast cancer during their lifetime. It is higher in urban women than in the rural. Another report shows that the age group from early 30s to 50s stays at a considerable risk for developing breast cancer and the rate of incidence increases with age and it is maximum in 50 to 64 years

Detecting the earlier stages of breast cancer at home

Although, usually you are not able to prevent your breast cancer, you can follow these steps for detecting the breast cancer earlier. Early detection is helpful for increasing the chances of finding the best treatment of breast cancer before it starts spreading. With these three following methods you can carry out the self examination of your breasts.

  1. Utilize the time while taking a shower: With the help of the flats of your three fingers, the index, middle and ring finger, start checking your entire breast and armpit area one by one. While checking press down your breast and armpits starting with a light and medium pressure to a firm one. Keep checking the best until it gets totally covered to feel if there is any hardened knot, lump or thickening in the breasts. 
  2. Checking with the help of a mirror: Inspect your breast visually after keeping your arms at the sides, then slowly raise your arms high over your head. Look carefully into the mirror for identifying if there are any changes in the contour of your skin. Notice if the skin is dimpling or swelling and lastly check if there is any change in the nipples. Then rest your palms over your hips and firmly press for flexing the chest muscles. It's not necessary that the size of your right and left breast will be exactly matching so there might be a difference in both of them but look after if there is any puckering or dimpling in any of them.
  3. Take a few minutes out before sleeping: While lying down, the tissues of your breast get stressed out evenly along the wall of the chest. Keep a pillow under the right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head. Then using the flats of your three middle fingers gently check around and cover the entire area of your breast and armpit. Again start from giving light pressure then increase to medium and firm. Also squeeze the nipples for checking if there is any lump or discharge, repeat the same steps on your left breast.

These self examinations of breast are needed to be performed by adult women of every age for at least once every month. Self exams will be helping you to stay familiar with the size and texture of your breast and you can get alert if you feel any changes. It has been stated by Johns Hopkins Medical center that, 40% of the women who are diagnosed by breast cancers have detected them on their own after feeling changes. So, it is very important to carry out a regular self exam of your breasts. 


It's advisable to not panic if you are affected with breast cancer, because the survival rates of breast cancer have increased by 20% in the last decade and there is a steady decline of  the mortality rate which is associated with breast cancer. But always remember that all this is possible because of earlier detection and the new personalized approaches of breast cancer treatment along with a proper and better understanding of breast cancer. Do read our other articles for gaining knowledge about the best treatment options for breast cancer.

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