Breast cancer is a global epidemic, affecting millions of women worldwide each year. According to statistics by Breastcancer.org, in the United States alone, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and an estimated 40,450 women's lives were claimed by the disease last year. Globally, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for nearly 25% of all cancer cases. While breast cancer is most often associated with women for obvious physical reasons, it can also affect men, although their chances are significantly lower at 1 in 1,000.
The best way to beat breast cancer is to detect it early, so that the problem can hopefully be nipped in the bud. That's why it's so important that women perform regular self-examinations of their breasts (the shower is usually the best place for this) to feel for lumps and take note of any other changes in shape, size, or appearance.
While finding a lump is generally the most common potential sign of breast cancer, it's not the only one. There are many other, far more subtle symptoms. It may not seem like a big deal, but as Kylie Armstrong recently discovered, recognizing these more obscure signs can sometimes make all the difference!
This is Kylie Armstrong, of Melbourne, Australia. Last week, she shared a photo of her breast on Facebook as a warning to others about a more subtle indicator of breast cancer.
In this photo, everything initially seems normal. There are no lumps or any other famous telltale signs of cancer. But take a look at those little dimples, which have been highlighted so you can see them better.
Kylie accompanied the photo with the following message:
"Please take a good look at this photo.
These 3 very, very subtle DIMPLES on the bottom of this breast are a sign of BREAST CANCER!
I felt no lump. The GP felt no lump. However, she listened to me when I said my breast looked different to usual and when I raised my arm I could see very, very faint dimples on the underside of my breast.
The GP sent me for a mammogram to be sure. It wasn’t obvious on the scan so they sent me for an ultrasound.
The ultrasound found the cancer deep in my breast close to the muscle."
“These 3 dimples have turned my world and my families’ world upside down.
We are shocked, we are numb, we are emotional, we are sometimes OK, we are pretending it’s not happening, we are trying to absorb information, we are dealing with tests, we are crying, we are trying to continue as normal.
We are angry, we are sad. We have more questions than answers. We are doing our best to cope.
I am sharing this because I hope I can make people aware that breast cancer is not always a detectable lump.
Please go straight to your GP if you notice ANY change in your breast.
It could save your life."
More recently, Kylie posted an update on her status. She has completed her surgery and is now hoping to be cancer-free. She's glad that her post inspired so many other women to get a checkup, and looks forward to beating her own cancer.