BREAST CANCER: THE ROLE ARMPITS
PLAY IN EARLIER DETECTION

BREAST CANCER: THE ROLE ARMPITS PLAY IN EARLIER DETECTION

OCTOBER 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

armpit lump early detection for breast cancer

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I’ll never forget when my best friend told me how one day when was showering she noticed a lump in her armpit. Thank goodness she knew her body well enough and got it checked out because she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Thankfully, she’s doing great now, and knew to act fast on the lump. This story is a constant reminder to me, and hopefully now to you, of how important it is to be aware of your body. 

No matter how old (or young) you are, it’s never too early to understand what to look for when self-examining your breasts. There is an increasingly high chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer as the statistics point out that 1 in 8 women in America receive a diagnosis. 

Although there are a lot of factors contributing to the risk of breast cancer, like personal or family history, there are a few things you can change in your lifestyle as a precaution against it. I’ll give you that insight later but for now let’s talk about the role that armpits and armpit lumps may play in breast cancer detection. 

lymph nodes are indicators for armpit lumps

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARMPITS AND BREAST CANCER

Our armpits have a very close connection to our breasts as our axillary lymph nodes lay closely to both of them. Lymph nodes are great indicators to know if there are any changes in the body. Although armpit lumps aren’t likely to be breast cancer, there is still a small chance the swelling that occurs in your armpits could turn out to be an early sign of breast cancer and that’s why it’s so important to be well acquainted with your armpit lumps and bumps, noting any changes. 

lumps under armpit

AXILLARY LYMPH NODES

If you’re scratching your head wondering, what exactly are lymph nodes and how are they connected to breast cancer, then let me explain. 

Lymph nodes are a group of different types of immune system cells that are responsible for detecting chemical changes within the body. The lymphatic system is a network of organs and vessels all over your body. Maybe you’ve heard people say they are getting their lymphatic system “drained”, or you’ve participated in the latest trend of dry brushing. Recently, there has been an emphasis to drain the lymphatic system. This is because they collect all the waste and toxins from your body, and to rid of them is said to improve one’s health. 

Axillary lymph nodes are located near the breasts and are often the first location that breast cancer spreads to if it moves beyond the breast tissue. If your axillary lymph nodes are inflamed or you develop lumps in your armpit, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s breast cancer. It generally means there is an infection present, and your body is notifying you, however it should signal you to get it checked to be on the safe side. 

An American Family Physician study has noted an unexplained lump in lymph nodes has about a 4% chance of being malignant (meaning cancer causing) if you’re over the age of 40, and 0.4% of those younger than 40 years old. 

charcoal deodorant to avoid armpit lumps

MAMMOGRAMS AND DEODORANT USE

When I go for my mammograms, I noticed they always tell me to wash off any deodorants I’m wearing (or antiperspirants) and advise me not to wear any perfumes, lotions, or powders. I was curious to find out why they were advising against it and found that according to the American Cancer Society, many of the products mentioned contain aluminum or substances that can show up on the x-ray as white spots that appear similar to calcium deposits. In some cases these calcium deposits (calcification) can be a sign of early cancer thus making the results of the mammograms incorrect. 

For a correct reading in our mammograms, the products we use under our arms are important. Staying clear of aluminum-based products near the timing of your test, may be the catalyst for a more accurate result. 

antiperspirants can cause armpit lumps

ALUMINUM, ANTIPERSPIRANTS AND CANCER

Now this debate has been going on for years. Let me preface this by saying the decision you make after reading all the information out there and forming your own opinion, is up to you. 

Aluminum chloride is an ingredients in antiperspirants, a product that we usually apply every day for most of our lives. This means that if you’re putting a product on for every day of your life, then it’s important to know what exactly is in it. 

The reason why aluminum is a controversial ingredient is because aluminum has a genotoxic profile that can cause DNA alterations and epigenetic effects (gene activity that is not caused by changes in the DNA sequence). This is why it has been said that the genetic mutation caused by aluminum might be a contributing factor in breast cancer.  

Please note doctors will argue that there is no conclusive science to support this and I am a believer in science, but what I will say is that if it suspicious (and it is). My advice, especially on a product you use 7 days a week for years on end is to avoid it out of precaution. 

There are no studies concretely proving that aluminum is the cause of breast cancer, however there are many studies that reveal there is a possible correlation. If you remember from your high school science class, correlation does not equal causation. However, because there are a lot of different studies for both sides, it’s better to be safe than sorry and opt for a more natural option when they are so readily available.  

Here is a link to one that I’ve developed made from charcoal that’s a great alternative to antiperspirants. 

SHOP NATURAL PRODUCTS
FOR DARK UNDERARMS

armpit lumps are early sign indicators of breast cancer

EARLY DETECTION IS KEY TO SURVIVAL RATE

Early detection of breast cancer in a localized stage has a 5-year relative survival rate of 99%. Catching it early means doing monthly breast self-exams as well as scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.  

It’s best to familiarize yourself with all the different neighbourhoods around your breasts when performing self-exams. The presence of armpit lumps and bumps is normal but being able to identify any changes is incredibly important for breast cancer screening. It’s best to catch a breast or armpit lump before it amounts to something, just like my dear friend. 

LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO DECREASE CHANCES OF DIAGNOSIS

A lot of breast cancer diagnoses can’t be avoided but there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your chances of getting a diagnosis. 

 
Physical Activity: get up and get moving, move your body for at least half an hour a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk. 

Alcohol Consumption: decrease the amount of alcohol consumption may aid in maintaining healthy internal organs as you age. 

Switching to Aluminum Free Deodorant: being intentional with the products you use on the delicate parts of your body, will ensure that you’re not progressing the probability of receiving a diagnosis of any health issue. 

Improving Diet: eating healthy along with exercising, will improve your immune system and ensure you’re strong and healthy as you age, and your body starts weakening. 

Getting older means the weight of our lives starts becoming more evident. The truth is, we aren’t as young as we used to be, and we need to adjust our lifestyles to incorporate healthy practices. This will ensure we are better positioned to fight illnesses if we ever need to and prevent them from being diagnosed in the first place. 

THE TAKEAWAY

Armpits and breasts are linked in more ways than one. Taking appropriate precautions like conducting monthly self-examinations that include the armpit region and making lifestyle changes that will benefit you in the long run (like using aluminum-free deodorant) can all contribute to decreasing chances of a breast cancer diagnosis or aid in earlier detection. 

Remember to always seek medical advice if you notice any changes – it is always best to be safe and cautious when it comes to this subject.  

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All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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The Little Book of
Human Discomforts

BY MADAME SWEAT

Clean beauty industry maven Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. After seeing the complexities of underarm problems, she set out on a mission to educate and eliminate the stigma associated with these “unsexy” hygiene issues, providing practical solutions and advice.

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