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A lump may not be the first sign of breast cancer

Most Oklahoma women are aware that finding a breast lump could be a sign of breast cancer. While not all lumps are cancerous, it is still important to visit a doctor right away if one is detected. What some people don’t know is that breast cancer can present itself in other ways besides a lump.

A study conducted by University College London researchers found that one in six women who are diagnosed with breast cancer schedule their initial doctor visit after noticing a symptom that is not a lump. Some of the other symptoms that women with breast cancer experience include breast pain, breast skin abnormalities and breast ulceration.

Researchers who conducted the British study looked at data from the English National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care. The audit involved around 2,300 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer from 2009 to 2010. Among them, 83 percent had gone to the doctor because of a breast lump. Nipple abnormalities was the first symptom that was experienced by 7 percent of the women while 6 percent of the women felt breast pain before going to the doctor. Skin abnormalities, breast ulceration, breast contour abnormalities and breast infections were other symptoms that some women experienced first.

A woman might be diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage in the disease for a variety of reasons. In some cases it is because she failed to act on early symptoms, while in other cases it could be due to doctor error. If it can be demonstrated that the latter was the reason, the woman and her attorney might find it advisable to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.