In the fight against breast cancer, early detection is crucial. When diagnosed in the early stages, breast cancer patients have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery than those whose cancer goes undetected for long periods of time.
The tricky part about catching breast cancer early are the wide variety of ways it can present itself. That’s why when 37-year old mother of three Sherrie Rhodes was diagnosed with breast cancer after only having one, obscure symptom, she took to Facebook to spread her story. She hopes her story can help save the lives of other mom’s, wives, and daughters before it’s too late.
Sherrie Rhodes’ Story
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump found inside breast tissue. Sherrie, however, had no lumps when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in late July. Instead, all she experienced was an odd dimpling on one of her breasts. She took the following photo and posted it on her Facebook page to warn other women of this less-common sign of breast cancer.
Sherrie captioned the photo:
“Yesterday I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came as a total shock as this dimpling (in the pic) is the only symptom I had. I noticed it end of June, two days later I went to my GP who referred me to the breast clinic. I went there just over a week ago and had a scan which revealed a mass, I then had a mammogram which confirmed it so had some biopsys done the same day. I wasn’t too worried as there was no lump or anything. Unfortunately it came back as breast cancer. Please check your breast regularly and don’t ignore anything that is different. If I hadn’t seen a post like this previously I wouldn’t have known that this dimpling was a sign of cancer. Please share and raise awareness. ❤️❤️❤️”
Though lumps are still the most common sign of breast cancer, Sherrie’s experience is a wake-up call for all women, reminding us that sometimes cancer can present itself in more subtle or lesser-known ways. It is extremely important that as soon as you detect any changes in your breasts, you go see your doctor right away.
Other Early Breast Cancer Signs
According to the American Cancer Society, there are several other symptoms or changes that can happen to your breasts that may be a sign of cancer besides just lumps. These early warning signs are:
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Nipple retraction (turning inwards)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Steps you can take to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer
While early detection is extremely important, breast cancer prevention is key! There are a number of measures you can take throughout your life to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Breast feed your children as long as possible
- Limit your dose and duration of hormone therapy (birth control, for menopause symptoms)
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
- Eat a healthy diet: plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, lean hormone-free proteins, and whole-food sources of carbohydrates. Limit processed foods as much as possible.
The Bottom Line
If caught early, your chances of beating breast cancer are high. It is of critical importance that every woman does regular self-evaluations of her breasts to ensure that there are no changes, no matter how old you are. If you notice anything that is different than usual, consult your doctor; it is better to be safe than sorry.
Share this article with all the women in your life so that they, too, will be aware of this subtle warning sign of breast cancer.
(1) Wisloski, J. (2017, July 29). 37-year-old mom shares uncommon early-warning sign for breast cancer. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.today.com/health/mom-shares-surprising-photo-early-breast-cancer-sign-t114432
(2) Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/breast-cancer-signs-and-symptoms.html
(3) Breast cancer: How to reduce your risk. (2016, January 17). Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/breast-cancer-prevention/art-20044676
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