Breast Cancer Symptoms

In its early stages, unfortunately, breast cancer is usually painless. This characteristic makes regular screening tests such as mammograms and breast self-examinations even more important. On some occasions, however, women may develop signs and/or symptoms which may give us clues or indications to look for breast cancer. We will review these as follows:
1. LUMP. The finding of a lump in one’s breast or in the underargm during a breast and underarm self-exam is an important clue that should not be overlooked. Besides breast cancer. there are other reasons why we may find a lump in one’s breast, such as a benign fibrocystic disease of the breast or the natural lumpiness of the breasts that occur in some women – especially during the menstrual cycle, however, the finding of a hard lump in one’s breast is an important finding that should be reported to our physicians. It is important to note that almost half – 50% of all masses found in the breast – are found in the upper outer aspect of the breast.
2. HARDNESS OF THE SKIN OF THE BREAST. There is a very special and important form of breast cancer known as an Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This is a very rapidly growing and aggressive form of breast cancer which needs to be addressed as soon as possible. This form of breast cancer usually presents as an induration and hardness of the skin of the breast with an increased redness as well. If a woman develops increased redness and hardness in one or both breasts, it is important to report this finding to her physician as soon as possible. There are other reasons for the finding of a redness and hardness of the skin of the breast, however an Inflammatory Breast Cancer is such an important and urgent finding that it needs to be considered and ruled out as soon as the thought that this may be the case enters our minds.
3. NIPPLE DISCHARGE. A nipple discharge, on some occasions, may be a sign of an underlying breast cancer. As noted earlier, not all breast discharges are an indication of an underlying breast cancer; however if a woman discovers a repeated nipple discharge – especially if it is a bloody nipple discharge – it is very important for her to report this to her physician.
4. CHANGE IN THE SIZE OR SHAPE OF THE BREAST. If a woman notices that there has been a change in the size and/or shape of her breast, this may be an important clue to the development of breast cancer. As we noted earlier, breast cancer in its early stages is painless. As such, the only clue we may have of the presence of a breast cancer may be the finding of a change in the appearance of the breasts themselves.
5. PAIN OR TENDERNESS OF THE BREASTS. The development of pain or tenderness in one or both breasts may indicate an underlying breast cancer.
6. RETRACTION OR INDENTATION OF THE NIPPLE OF THE BREAST. If the nipple of one or both breasts becomes indurated or retracted, this may be a sign of an underlying breast cancer.
All of the above concepts and many more are covered in very easy to understand language in the Breast Cancer audio CD available on

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One Response to “Breast Cancer Symptoms”

  1. delighla says:

    i have symtoms 1 and 5 but none of the others what does this mean?

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