Breast Cancer Home > Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Common breast cancer symptoms include changes in breast tissue, changes in how the breast or nipple looks (including size and shape), or nipple discharge. Not everyone with breast cancer will have early symptoms, which is why screening tests are so important. Some possible signs of breast cancer can be symptoms of other diseases.

Breast Cancer Symptoms: An Overview

Not everyone with breast cancer will have early symptoms of the disease. That is why breast cancer screening is so important. Screening before symptoms of breast cancer develop can help doctors find and treat cancer early. Also, breast cancer treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early.

Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • Nipple tenderness
  • A change in how the breast or nipple looks
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Nipple discharge (fluid).

Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer. In inflammatory breast cancer, the lymph vessels around the breast become blocked. Symptoms of this type of breast cancer include a red, swollen, and warm breast. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, purple, or bruised, and it may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d'orange). These symptoms often occur quickly over a period of weeks.
Another possible symptom 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.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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