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Breast Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

How would I know if I have breast cancer?

Like many types of cancer, breast cancer does not always cause symptoms. In fact, in its earliest stages, breast cancer usually does not cause any symptoms. For this reason, screening tests such as mammograms are used to look for cancer and for precancerous cells even before they cause symptoms or can be felt by you or your doctor.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

While breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms at its earliest stage, as a tumor grows, it can change how a woman’s breast looks or feels.

Often, the first subjective sign of breast cancer is a lump in the breast that feels different from the surrounding breast tissue. A woman—or her partner—may discover such a lump accidentally.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Swelling of the breast
  • Unusual breast or nipple pain
  • Persistent breast pain
  • A change in breast size or shape
  • Skin dimpling
  • Redness or persistent rash of the breast skin, areola or nipple
  • Nipple inversion
  • Spontaneous nipple discharge
  • Lump or lumps in the armpit or collar-bone areas

Many benign breast disorders such as fibroadenomas, fibrocystic change and mastitis are also common causes of many of these symptoms. ANY new breast symptom or finding should be brought to the attention of your doctor immediately as early detection and treatment can significantly improve the chance of a cure in the event that breast cancer is diagnosed.