Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a health care professional.
Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.
By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast. Be sure to talk to your health care professional if you notice anything unusual.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, here are the signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
A Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Looks Or Feels
- Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
- A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
- A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)
A Change In The Breast Or Nipple Appearance
- Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast
- Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
- Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
- Recent asymmetry (unequal or lack of sameness) of the breasts. Although it is common for someone to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.
- Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
- Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange
Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge
It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when you are not breastfeeding should be checked by your doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.
Let your doctor know about any nipple discharge, clear, bloody or milky. The most concerning discharges are bloody or clear.