Signs of Breast Cancer
Common signs of breast cancer include changes in breast tissue, lumps near the breast or underarm, and nipple tenderness. However, many women with the disease will not experience any early signs -- that's what makes screening tests for the disease so important. A red, swollen, and warm breast and swollen lymph nodes under the arm are signs associated with a rare form of the disease known as inflammatory breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer: An OverviewNot everyone with breast cancer will have early signs of the disease. That is why breast cancer screening is so important. Breast cancer screening before there are signs of breast cancer can help doctors find and treat cancer early; breast cancer treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early.
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- Nipple tenderness
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in how the nipple or breast looks
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge (fluid).
Early breast cancer signs usually do not include pain.
Signs of Inflammatory Breast CancerIn inflammatory breast cancer -- a rare form of cancer -- the lymph vessels around the breast become blocked. Signs of inflammatory breast cancer include a swollen, red, and warm breast. The skin of the breast may also appear purple, pink, or bruised, and it may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d'orange). These signs of inflammatory breast cancer often appear quickly over a period of weeks.
Another possible sign of inflammatory breast cancer is swollen lymph nodes under the arm, above the collarbone, or in both places. Often, a tumor cannot be felt, and may not be seen on a mammogram.