Early Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

It is important to be very familiar with how your breasts look and feel, and to be aware of any changes in your breasts. Annual screenings are critical to breast cancer detection, but studies show that 40% of women with breast cancer discovered their tumors themselves. Many women often notice early signs of breast cancer while performing daily activities, such as bathing or putting on deodorant. The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump in the breast or armpit, however, there are many warning signs of breast cancer that you should be aware of including:
Early Warning Signs - BBN

  • Mass in the breast or armpit is the most common sign, often described as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. It is unlikely that the lump will be visible, unless you have small breasts.
  • Dimpling or puckering on the breast
  • Scaliness on nipple
  • Redness or flaking of the skin
  • Nipple discharge (not breast milk)
  • Nipple changes (inversion, retraction, or pulling)
  • Ulcer on the breast or nipple
  • Thickening of the skin (orange-peel texture)
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Persistent pain in an area of the breast
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

It is important to note that you should not ignore symptoms just because you do not feel pain. Pain is rarely a major symptom of breast cancer. If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to contact your doctor right away.

Resources

CDC – What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer? (2018, September 11). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/symptoms.htm

Roth, M. Y., Elmore, J. G., Yi-Frazier, J. P., Reisch, L. M., Oster, N. V., & Miglioretti, D. L. (2011). Self-Detection Remains a Key Method of Breast Cancer Detection for U.S. Women. Journal of Womens Health, 20(8), 1135–1139. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2493

Underferth, D., & MD Anderson Cancer Center. (2019, September 4). Breast cancer symptoms you shouldn’t ignore. Retrieved from https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/breast-cancer-symptoms-you-shouldn-t-ignore.h10-1592991.html

What Are the Warning Signs of Breast Cancer? (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/warning-signs