Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States—with one in every 8 women developing this cancer. Breast cancer typically develops as a small tumor (or lump) in the tissues throughout the breasts and then, if cancerous, spreads through the lymph nodes.
The best hope of surviving a breast cancer diagnosis is via early detection. That’s why routine self-exams of the breasts to identify any lumps, as well as annual check-ups and mammograms with your health care professional are important.
1Detection of a Lump
When performing a self breast exam, carefully apply pressures to the breasts and surrounding tissues with your fingers. Both benign (non cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) breast lumps sometimes form under the armpit, in the collarbone, near the site of the lymph nodes, and around the nipples, as rigid, hard, tender lumps that don’t move when you press against them. Any tenderness may be due to swollen tissues. If you detect a lump, call your doctor immediately.