Breast Cancer Symptoms You May Not Know


Erin Azuse

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As a woman, you’ve probably been taught the importance of a monthly breast self-exam. However, do you realize that this involves more than simply checking your breasts for any lumps or masses?  While a lump may be the most common symptom, you should be aware of other potential signs of breast cancer. Here are some important things you should watch for.

Breast Cancer Symptoms You May See

Take a look in the mirror with your arms by your side. A visual inspection of your breasts can provide you with a lot of information. Note if any of the following are present:

  • A change in the normal size or shape of your breasts. Most women have one breast that is bigger than the other, but if one suddenly appears swollen or a different size than usual, it may be of concern.

  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin on the breast. Look for any ridges or areas where the skin “pulls in.” Make sure to check all parts of the breast, including underneath.

  • A change in the skin texture. One type of breast cancer, called inflammatory breast cancer, can be identified by an “orange peel” texture on the skin of the breast.

  • Patches of red, dark, or scaly skin on the breast or near the nipple. These could be due to irritation or bruises, but these patches can also be seen with inflammatory breast cancer.

  • An inverted nipple or nipple that turns inward. The growth of a tumor can change the appearance of a nipple.

  • Discharge from the nipple. Bloody or cloudy discharge is most concerning, especially if it occurs without squeezing the nipple.

Repeat the visual exam with your arms above your head and also with your hands on your hips. Contact your doctor if you see anything unusual.

Revolutionary treatments have increased the life expectancy rates for breast cancer patients. Watch this video for more breast cancer facts.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 12, 2017

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