While breast cancer rates are rising globally, early detection is still key to survival. In fact, the 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer detected in the early stages is 99%, while the survival rate for breast cancer detected in the late stages is only 27%. So, how can you detect breast cancer early? The answer lies in understanding the ABCDE method.
Related: How to perform a Self-Exam
The ABCDE method is a simple way to remember the most common signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you notice any of the following changes in your breasts, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible:
A is for asymmetry. This means that one half of your breast looks different from the other half. This could be in terms of size, shape, or nipple position.
B is for borders. This refers to the edges of your breast tissue. If you notice that the borders are uneven, scalloped, or defined differently from before, this could be a sign of cancer.
C is for color. Take a close look at your breasts in the mirror and note any changes in coloration or texture. A change from smooth to bumpy skin could indicate cancerous cells present.
D is for dimpling or indentations. Any pitting or dimpling of the skin on your breasts should be cause for concern as it can be an early sign of cancer.
E is for enlargements or changes in size. A change in size – either an increase or decrease – can be another sign that something is not right.
In addition to changes in appearance, you may also experience other symptoms such as nipple discharge, persistent pain, or a lump under your arm. These symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor regardless of their connection to the ABCDE method.
While no one wants to think about developing breast cancer, it's important to be vigilant about monitoring your breasts for any changes. The good news is that there are simple methods like the ABCDE system that can help you catch abnormalities early. So make sure to perform regular self-exams and see your doctor regularly so that you can catch any changes as soon as possible.