5 Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer

May 7th 2016

Women who develop breast cancer do not all experience the same symptoms, and women who experience common symptoms do not necessarily develop breast cancer. As the earliest symptoms may go unnoticed, any changes in breast tissue should be promptly reported to the doctor.

New Lump Found in the Breast

Breast cancer is often first detected by a woman who has discovered a lump during a breast exam. A mass that feels hard but not painful is more likely to be cancerous, but soft lumps may also be malignant. A painful lump usually indicates a non-cancerous issue, but it should still be assessed by the doctor.

Inverted Nipples

Some women naturally have inward-turning nipples. These may be unusual, but it is a change in their breasts that can be a warning sign rather than the simple fact of inversion. Normally externally facing nipples that have inverted or sunk into the chest can signify breast cancer.

Dimpled Skin

Changes in the skin of the breast can be symptomatic of disease. Thickening of the skin or dimpling that produces an orange-peel appearance should be checked by the doctor. Skin changes indicating breast cancer can also include redness and itchiness.

Nipple Discharge

With the exception of breast milk, any discharge from one or both nipples may be related to breast cancer. There are many benign causes for nipple discharge, but unforced discharge with traces of blood may be a symptom of malignancy.

Lumps in Underarm Area

A lump or series of lumps in the armpit could indicate that cancerous cells that originated in the breast have travelled into the nearby lymph nodes. These lumps may feel tender.


The most common symptoms of breast cancer involve changes in breast tissue. As breast cancer treatment is more successful when the disease is detected in its early stages, women are advised to take notice of any differences in their breasts and report them to their doctors. Medical professionals can determine whether the symptoms indicate cancer or some other condition.

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