Breast cancer symptoms often do not appear in the earliest stages of the condition, but the widespread use of routine screenings has increased the likelihood of early detection. Nevertheless, mammograms do not detect every incidence of cancer, so it is important for a woman to learn about breast cancer symptoms and promptly see a physician upon noticing anything that is unusual or questionable.
By developing a habit of performing monthly breast self-exams, a woman can become familiar with her breasts, which will make it easier to remain vigilant for changes and abnormalities. Most often, only one or possibly two symptoms present initially. While the presence of one or more breast cancer symptoms does not necessarily indicate cancer, it is important to follow up with a health care practitioner with regard to any of the following:
- A lump or thickening in the breast or underarm area
- An inexplicable change in the size or shape of a breast
- Unexplained swelling or shrinkage of one or both breasts
- A recent onset of breast asymmetry
- Dimpling anywhere on a breast surface
- An inverted nipple
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- Nipple tenderness
- Redness, warmth and a change in breast skin texture (a thick, pitted appearance similar to that of an orange peel)
- Breast pain
The most common symptom that women notice is a new lump. These lumps are usually painless, but it is possible for them to be painful to the touch, as well. Malignant, or cancerous, masses are typically hard with irregular edges, but they can also be soft or rounded.
Individuals who are concerned about breast cancer symptoms do not need a referral to consult with the outstanding team of experts at Moffitt Cancer Center, where all of our services, support and treatments are available in a single, convenient location.
For more information about breast cancer symptoms or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 1-888-MOFFITT.