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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

Triple-negative breast cancer symptoms

Although triple-negative breast cancer does not look different from other breast cancer, it has several unique characteristics, including:

  • Receptor status: Tests that detect receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER2 will be negative, which means hormone therapy, a traditional breast cancer treatment, is not effective. Instead, triple-negative breast cancer treatment options include chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation.
  • More aggressive: A greater tendency to spread and recur after treatment compared to other breast cancer types. This risk decreases after the first few years following therapy.
  • Cell type and grade: Triple-negative breast cancer cells tend to be “basal-like,” meaning that they resemble the basal cells lining the breast ducts. The cells may also be higher grade, which means that they no longer resemble normal, healthy cells.

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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