Menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs, signifying that they cannot become pregnant easily by natural means. During this stage, the estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body decrease, causing the menstrual cycles to stop. Menopause generally starts around the age of 50. Although it does not cause cancer, yet the biological period can increase the risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. In this article, we will talk about the common symptoms of breast cancer in menopausal women, since the signs are often dismissed by many as usual occurrences during the stage.
Common symptoms of breast cancer in menopausal women
- Changes to the skin’s texture
This is one of the prominent signs of breast cancer. The condition causes inflammation in the skin cells, which may lead to noticeable changes in the skin’s texture. Some people may feel the skin thickening in any part of their breast, whereas the others may witness scaly skin around the nipple and areola. This may also cause itching.
- Nipple discharge
This is another one of the common symptoms of breast cancer in menopausal women. The nipple discharge may be thick or thin, and the color may vary from clear to milky white to yellowish-green or red. May times, nipple discharge may be non-cancerous and caused due to breast infections, thyroid, or as a side-effect of certain medications.
Skin dimpling is often caused by inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease. In this, the cancer cells can lead to the accumulation of lymph fluids in the breast. This can cause skin dimpling or pitted skin. It is important to consult your doctor immediately if you notice this symptom.
- Changes in the lymph node
Lymph nodes are small components of the immune system tissue that help to filter the potentially dangerous cells. Sometimes, the cancer cells leave the breast area and travel to the underarm lymph nodes on the same side. This can lead to swelling in the area.
- Breast or nipple pain
This is another one of the commonly seen symptoms of breast cancer in menopausal women. Breast cancer can often cause feelings of pain, discomfort, and tenderness in the affected area. Some people may also experience a burning sensation in the breast area.
- Nipple retraction
Breast cancer can cause the cells behind the nipple to change. This generally leads to the nipple reversing inward into the breast, and its size may also change. However, it must be understood that the appearance of nipples can sometimes change during the menstrual cycle also.
- Swelling and redness
Breast cancer in menopausal women can cause the entire area or breast to swell. Although there may be no lumps in the area, one breast may have a noticeably different size as compared to the other one. The condition may also cause the area to appear discolored or bruised, and the skin may exhibit a red or bluish tint.
These are some of the important symptoms of breast cancer in menopausal women that should not be ignored in any case. It is also advisable to go for regular tests for cancer of any type after a certain age.