Sign in arm, hand could show breast cancer has progressed: research

Sign in arm, hand could show breast cancer has progressed: research

PanARMENIAN.Net - Breast cancer symptoms can be similar to those of less common medical conditions, but if you experience any of the signs it’s important to get checked out by your GP because the disease affects one in eight women at some time in their life.

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump. But it should be noted the majority of breast lumps are benign and not cancerous.

A change in size, shape or feel of a breast, breast pain, skin changes, and fluid leaking from the nipple are other signs to look out for.

But if the breast cancer becomes advanced other areas of the body may be affected. One sign which indicates the disease has developed is swelling in the arm or hand, known as lymphoedema.

Breast Cancer Care explained: “Lymphoedema is swelling caused by a build-up of lymph fluid in the surface tissues of the body.

“This may happen as a result of damage to the lymphatic system because of surgery or radiotherapy to the lymph nodes under the arm (axilla) and surrounding area.

“Sometimes lymphoedema can be caused by cancer cells blocking the lymph system.”

Other symptoms that can occur if the cancer has spread tot he lymph nodes is a lump or swelling under the armpit and a lump or swelling in the breast bone or collar bone area.

One of the first places breast cancer can spread to is the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. This is not advanced cancer.

Breast cancer can also spread to the bones and cause an ache or pain in the affected bone or a weakened bone which is more prone to break or fracture.

Cancer Research UK adds: “Sometimes when bones are damaged by advanced cancer, the bones release calcium not the blood.

This is called hypercalcaemia and can cause various symptoms such as tiredness, feeling sick (nausea), constipation, irritability, thirst and confusion.”

Other areas of the body the cancer commonly spread to when in the advanced stages are the liver, the lungs and the brain.

The causes of breast cancer aren’t fully understood but there are some treatments available to reduce the risk of the condition developing.

Regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are recommended for all women as they can help prevent many conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer, says the NHS.

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