Women are delaying diagnosis because they are unaware of the different signs of breast cancer.
When it comes to breast cancer, finding a lump in the breast is usually thought of to be the first sign. However, a new study has found almost 1 in 6 women diagnosed with breast cancer had symptoms that didn’t include a lump and researchers are warning women to not wait until a lump shows up before visiting a doctor.
The research was conducted by scientists at University College London who looked at data from the English National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care which involved around 2,300 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2009 and 2010. The most notable evidence was that women with non-lump breast cancer took longer to get checked out with a doctor and causing a delay in treatment.
Women with non-lump breast cancer experiences symptoms like breast pain, shape abnormalities, ulceration, inflamed or infected breast and skin abnormalities.
“It’s crucial that women are aware that a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer,” study leader Monica Koo, said in a statement. “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.”
According to the study, 83 percent of the women had a lump, 7 percent had abnormalities with the nipple, 6 percent had pain in the breast, 2 percent had skin abnormalities around the breast and 1 percent had breast ulceration.
The study authors hope that more can be done to make women more aware of different signs of breast cancer and to make an appointment with their doctor if they are concerned.
“Awareness campaigns need to raise awareness of all of the potential symptoms of breast cancer so that people know how to spot the signs and when to go to a doctor,” said Dr Karen Kennedy, director of the National Cancer Research Institute.
The research was presented at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer conference in Liverpool this week.