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Breast cancer symptoms

Perhaps the most recognized symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. While many women go to their doctor after finding a lump, they should also be aware of any other changes to the breast or nipple.

With the different types of breast cancer come a variety of related symptoms. For example, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), which forms in the milk ducts, may cause a distinct breast lump that you can feel. Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), which forms in the milk-producing glands, may cause a thickening in the breast.


Video: Breast Cancer Screening and Symptoms

Breast Cancer Screening and Symptoms

Breast cancer symptoms

Symptoms of breast cancer vary from person to person. Some common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:

  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • An increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s)
  • Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • General pain in/on any part of the breast
  • Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast

Symptoms more specific to invasive breast cancer are as follows:

  • Irritated or itchy breasts
  • Change in breast color
  • Increase in breast size or shape (over a short period of time)
  • Changes in touch (may feel hard, tender or warm)
  • Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
  • A breast lump or thickening
  • Redness or pitting of the breast skin (like the skin of an orange)

Understanding cancer symptoms

These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. If you notice any cancer signs or symptoms, it's important to visit your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

What every woman needs to know about breast cancer

podcast mod

Dr. Dennis Citrin discusses breast cancer and advances in treatment.

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