Breast Cancer Awareness- Pink Ribbon

The Pink Ribbon Campaign is held every year in October. The aim of the Pink Ribbon campaign is to show solidarity with breast cancer victims, provide information and increase awareness about breast cancer and to support breast cancer research. To read more about the campaign go to The Norwegian Cancer Society.

Breast cancer warning signs

Most lumps discovered in your breasts, are harmless. However if you discover a new lump and you are unsure, you should have it checked by a physician.

Symptoms and signs that may indicate breast cancer

Breast cancer in its earliest stages, one can neither see nor feel. Usually breast cancer is discovered before any symptoms occur, by being detected through a routine examination or because you have discovered a lump in your breast. Findings of a lump in the armpit that does not disappear may also be a sign that something is wrong. Other possible symptoms include changes of the nipple or skin changes on the breasts.

Discharge from the nipples is not uncommon and is usually not associated with cancer. If only one breast produces liquid, the liquid contains blood or is colorless/thin the risk is greater that it might be breast cancer.

Other possible changes in the breast are redness/discoloration of the breast, changes in the breast firmness or asymmetrical wrinkles or depressions in the skin. These changes may be completely innocent, but they may occasionally be signs of cancer.

When to seek medical advice?

Breast cancer develops over months and years, but once the cancer is detected, it is desirable to treat it as quickly as possible. The reason for this is that the cancer is harder to treat the more it has developed.

Warning signs that indicate that you should see your physician include:

  • If you discover a lump in your breast
  • If you experience a lump in the armpit or above the collarbone that does not disappear within 1-2 weeks
  • If you suddenly experience discharge or blood from the breast
  • If your nipple suddenly goes from being outward to be inverted. Inverted nipples may be normal for some.
  • Irregularities, swellings or depressions in the skin, or changes in skin color or appearance. Redness and swelling of the breast is often due to an infection, but should be checked as soon as possible by a physician, infections may also need treatment

If you are unsure about any of this, you should anyway contact and consult with health professionals.

If you have a close relative (mother, sister, daughter) who have developed breast cancer, especially if it happened at a young age, you may need special monitoring – consult your physician to discuss this. Breast cancer in your father’s family is also of importance.

Source: NEL (Norsk Elektronisk Legehåndbok)

Photo: Steffen Aaland, Norwegian Cancer Society