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“I'm a fighter”: Actress Suzanne Somers Shares Breast Cancer News

Sitcom royalty Suzanne Somers reveals she’s battling breast cancer for the second time. Let’s dive into the latest from the 76-year-old actress, along with the signs and symptoms of one of the most common cancers among women and how common recurrences are.

"Since I have been taking time off from work, many of you have asked for more details about my health," Suzanne wrote on Instagram. "As you know, I had breast cancer two decades ago, and every now and then it pops up again, and I continue to bat it down. I have used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it. This is not new territory for me. I know how to put on my battle gear and I'm a fighter."

The Three’s Companyactress and businesswoman says she’s ready to fight the disease again – and she’s not alone. Over 2 million women are diagnosed every year, with many not receiving treatment until the condition has progressed. That’s why we’ll be diving into the most common signs and symptoms to look out for. Breast cancer can present with various signs and symptoms, and it's important to be aware of any changes or abnormalities in the breast. While these symptoms do not always indicate breast cancer, they should be promptly evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the cause. Some common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

Breast Lump or Thickening: A new lump or mass in the breast or underarm area is a common symptom of breast cancer. It may feel different from the surrounding breast tissue and may or may not be painful.

Changes in Breast Size or Shape: Any unexplained changes in breast size or shape, such as swelling or distortion, should be assessed by a healthcare provider. 

Nipple Changes: Changes in the nipple, such as inversion (turning inward), redness, scaling, or discharge (other than breast milk), may indicate a potential issue. 

Skin Changes: Redness, dimpling, or puckering of the breast skin, resembling an orange peel, could be a sign of breast cancer.

Breast Pain: While breast pain is a common symptom, it is rarely associated with breast cancer. But persistent or localised pain should be evaluated.

Unexplained Swelling: Swelling in part or all of the breast, even without a lump, should be examined by a healthcare professional.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes: Lumps in the underarm area or above the collarbone could indicate the spread of breast cancer to nearby lymph nodes.

It's essential to remember that many breast changes are not cancerous, and some breast lumps are benign – but any concerning symptoms should be brought to the attention of a healthcare provider for further evaluation, diagnosis and appropriate management. Breast cancer screening, such as mammograms and clinical breast exams, can aid in the early detection of breast cancer, especially in women at an increased risk or above a certain age.

Regular breast self-examinations can also help women become familiar with the normal appearance and feel of their breasts, making it easier to detect any changes promptly. If you notice any of the above symptoms or have concerns about breast health, consult a healthcare professional for an evaluation. To give you an idea of why it’s so important, in 2020, it was estimated that around 19,974 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in Australia. To make matters worse, it’s a significant cause of cancer-related deaths in Australian women. In 2020, it was estimated that around 3,043 women died from breast cancer. But it’s not all doom and gloom, the survival rate for breast cancer has been improving over the years due to advancements in early detection and treatment. The five-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia is approximately 90%, but that’s all the more reason to get your diagnosis early.

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