Signs & Symptoms
Breast cancer may be without symptoms, even in its advanced stages. If there are symptoms, they can include:
- Lump in the breast or underarm area. This is the most common symptom, with an incidence of about 65-75%. Most breast cancers are discovered as a lump by the patient during breast self-exam, or during routine physical examination or mammography. Lumps may be benign or due to hormonal changes, but should be investigated, especially if they persist.
- Change in size or shape of the breast. A change in the size or shape of the mature breast can be caused by the swelling of the ducts or lobes and might be due to monthly hormonal cycles. However, it may also indicate cancer, especially if it is in only one breast.
- Fluid discharge from the nipple. If fluid is leaking from only one nipple, is a new discharge, or is bloody, then testing should be done to discover the cause.
- Change in size, shape, or texture of the nipple. The nipple normally alters with age or changes in body weight. But if the nipple retracts (pulls in) and doesn't quickly return to its normal shape, or if it develops a rash that doesn't respond to treatment creams, it may indicate the presence of cancer.
- Change in color, shape, or texture of the areola. Dimples, puckers, or rashes on the skin of the areola that persist and don't respond to treatment creams may indicate cancer. An usual form of cancer called Paget's disease starts out in the form of a rash or redness and flaking of the breast skin, and progress to symptoms such as tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain.
- Change in texture of breast skin. Peau d'orange (orange peel skin), thickening and pitting of breast skin due to edema, can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
- Pain in the breast or underarm. Pains that regularly occur with monthly hormonal cycles are normal. If pain occurs at an off-cycle time or in only one breast or armpit, it should be reported to a physician.
Diagnosing Breast Cancer (VIDEO)
The Marvel of the Breast
When Things Go Wrong
Signs & Symptoms
Screening for Cancer
Diagnosing Breast Cancer
Prevention & Exercise
Related Health Centers:
Breast Cancer, Cancer Introduction, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer