What are the warning signs of breast cancer?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

There are several major warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer. First, palpation of a mass of any size may be an indicator of cancer. The mass should be diagnosed with mammogram, ultrasound, and finally Biopsied to get a definitive tissue diagnosis. Thickening around the breast or under the arm may also be significant. Changes in the shape or size of the breast may be associated with a rapidly enlarging tumor. Any form of nipple discharge, whether clear or bloody should be evaluated immediately. Redness or a change in the nipple appearance should be evaluated for Paget's disease or cancer. Performing monthly self breast exams and annual mammograms may save lives!

There are many different signs of breast cancer. This diagnosis needs to made with the help of your physician. Many of the signs of breast cancer are common in benign, noncancerous findings as well. It would be reasonable to discuss any of the following findings with your health care provider: a lump inside the breast or under the arm; swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the skin of the breast; changes in the size or shape of the breast; dimpling or puckering of the skin; itching, scaling soreness, or rash on the nipple; nipple discharge; pulling in or dimpling of your nipple or other parts of the breast; and new pain in one spot that will not remit.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.