One of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in women is breast cancer. Men can get breast cancer, as well. While the chances of going into remission from breast cancer are higher these days than it used to be, it is still important to recognize the signs of breast cancer early on. When you are taking care of an elderly loved one, you should make sure they do regular checks and see their doctor regularly, too. This will assure any signs of breast cancer are caught early.
Breast, Underarm, or Collar Lump
Does the elderly loved one you are caring for have a new lump in their breast, underarm, or collar area? This could be a signal that they have breast cancer. It is important that every new lump gets evaluated by a doctor, especially the ones that are painless, hard, and that have edges that are irregular. However, it is important to know that lumps can be tender or painful, as well.
Breast Swelling or Thickening
Breast swelling or thickening could also signify breast cancer. The swelling will more than likely be noticed in the armpits or the collarbone. If there is swelling in these areas, cancer might have gone into the lymph nodes. If you are taking care of a senior citizen, have them check for swelling or thickening of these tissues. You can have them get a doctor’s appointments to check for this type of swelling, too.
With breast cancer, it is likely that your elderly loved one would be experiencing some sort of nipple changes. There might be changes in one or both of the nipples. Your elderly loved one might have bloody discharge from their nipple. The nipple may also be turned inward. In addition, their nipple could be thicker, scaly, or red, as well.
Pain in the Shoulder, Upper Back, or Breast
While it is normal for some people to have a bit of pain in these areas, it isn’t a good thing for others. In fact, if the pain is lasting a few weeks or more, it should definitely be checked out by a doctor. If your elderly loved one is saying that it feels like they have pulled a muscle in these areas and the pain won’t let up after a few weeks, have them see their doctor right away.
Sometimes there aren’t any symptoms noticed at all. This is why it is extremely important to get regular mammograms. Women who are 40 to 44 should get a breast exam at least once every 2 years. Women who are aged 45 to 54 should get a breast exam and mammogram yearly. The women who are 55 or older should get mammograms every year, as well.
These are some of the most common warning signs for breast cancer. When taking care of your elderly loved one, have their caregivers or yourself get them to the doctor for regular breast exams and mammograms.