A lump isn’t the only way to detect breast cancer


A new study has highlighted further symptoms that breast cancer causes, other than a lump.

Spotting cancer early can lead to a much higher chance of beating it, and women are encouraged to regularly check their breasts for any bumps or changes. However this isn’t the only way to detect something isn’t right, and new research has found that 17 per cent of women with breast cancer had indications other than a lump. Scientists from University College London (UCL) found other early signs ranged from back pain, to breathlessness. A swollen arm and weight loss could also be signs. Looking at data from 2,300 breast cancer sufferers, it was found that 76 per cent went to their doctor about a lump and 17 per cent went for other ailments, mentioned above. The remainder had both non-lump and lump symptoms. When the time frame of lump and non-lump symptoms was compared, those without a lump waited on average 12 days longer to see their GP after noticing something wasn’t right, with 15 per cent waiting as long as three months. Those with a lump typically made a doctor’s appointment within a week. “It’s crucial that women are aware that a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer. If they are worried about any breast symptoms, the best thing to do is to get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible,” lead author Monica Koo said. “Diagnosing cancer earlier really is key in order to increase the chances of survival.” In a separate study, researchers from Britain’s University of Warwick found that people who don’t get enough vitamin D increase their risk of bladder cancer. Examining previous studies, the team concluded that in five of the experiments low levels of the vitamin were linked to the cancer. “Our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells,” lead researcher Dr Rosemary Bland said. “As vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact on the lives of many people.” She adds more research needs to be done into the area. During the summer people get an abundance of vitamin D from being outside in the sun, but in the winter we’re exposed to far less. Food sources high in vitamin D include egg yolks, cheese, fatty fish like tuna and salmon and beef liver. Public Health England recommends people get 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day, and say people should consider taking a supplement to help them achieve this. © Cover Media
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