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What are the early signs of breast cancer?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

Breast cancer may occur in one to seven or eight women in her life.  As a result, it is extremely important that women perform their self-breast examinations as well mammograms at the age of 40.  Early detection is the key to prevent malignant spreading of the tumor throughout the body.  Patients may notice thickening of the breast skin, a rash or redness of the breast, or simply a lump or mass that is new or is enlarging over time.  Breast pain, even bleeding through the nipple, or discharge can be associated with breast tumors behind the nipple-areolar complex.  Lumps or masses under the armpit may be associated with breast cancer spread to the lymph nodes.  Anytime a lump or mass is felt, it should be evaluated by your physician.  Diagnostic tests may be required including biopsy.

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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.