Taking Care of Your Health


Red Spot on Breast: Bug Bite or Cancer?

October 27, 2020

Spot Breast

Did you recently notice a red spot on one of your breasts? If so, you’ve taken the first important step of cancer prevention by monitoring your health for unusual changes. To help prevent breast cancer, every woman is encouraged to become familiar with her body and what is normal for her.

You’re probably wondering whether that odd red spot is nothing more than a simple bug bite or if it could be something more serious, such as an early sign of breast cancer. In most cases, a red spot on the breast can be traced to something other than cancer, such as a sunburn, heat rash, allergy or insect bite. Even so, if the spot lasts longer than two weeks or otherwise makes you feel uneasy, it’s best to see a physician to have it checked out. Red spots are also a feature of inflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease of the nipple, both of which are rare but aggressive types of breast cancer.

Other symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer

Unlike most other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer does not usually cause breast lumps. Instead, the cancer affects the skin and lymph vessels of the breast.  In addition to red spots on the breast skin, common symptoms include:

  • Breast skin that looks and feels thick and pitted, similar to an orange peel
  • Rapid changes in the appearance or texture of the breast skin
  • Breast pain, swelling, redness, itchiness and warmth
  • A thickening of the breast skin
  • Breast enlargement or heaviness

Other symptoms of Paget’s disease of the nipple

Usually, Paget’s disease affects the skin of one nipple first, then spreads to the dark skin around the nipple (areola). In the early stages, Paget’s disease may resemble dermatitis, eczema and other noncancerous skin conditions.

Symptoms of Paget’s disease that affect the nipple and areola include:

  • Very dry skin
  • Red, thickened and scaly skin
  • Color changes
  • Pain or itchiness

Other symptoms of Paget’s disease may include:

  • Inversion of the nipple (turning inward)
  • Yellowish discharge or blood from the nipple
  • A palpable breast mass

Discuss your symptoms with a specialist at Moffitt

If you would like to have your symptoms evaluated by a breast cancer specialist, you are welcome to turn to the multispecialty team in the renowned Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. To request an appointment, please call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form.