Due to the increased use of mammography, most women are diagnosed at very early stages of breast cancer, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancer is found through mammography. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge. These are listed below:
Lump, hard knot or thickening
Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
Adapted from National Cancer Institute [23,24], American Cancer Society , and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
If you have any of these symptoms, you should discuss them with your health care provider right away. Although for most people these changes will turn out to be benign (not cancer), the only way to know for sure is to see your provider. For example, breast pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer. However, if breast cancer is present, it is best to be diagnosed at an early stage, when the cancer is most treatable.