Common symptoms and signs of breast cancer
Follwing are the commonest signs and symptoms in case of a breast cancer. It is advisable that if you are reading the signs and symptoms below, you also go through the details of those symptoms which have been explained here, by clicking on that symptom in the menu on the left
A painless lump in the breast
A 'lump' or a hard 'knot' in the breast is the most common symptoms of breast cancer. And in a majority of the cases, this lump is painless, as a result of which women tend to ignore it. To note, even non cancerous lumps are painless and feel hard. In the younger age group, most such painless lumps will be 'fibroids'. Fibroids are not cancerous and do not turn into cancers. Beyond 30 years of age, the chances of developing fibroids becomes lesser, and any lady above 30 years of age, with a painless lump, must get it evaluated from a surgeon, experienced in breast diseases. To read more about lumps, Click Here
Recent retraction or indrawing of the nipple
Tumour which occur just below the nipple and areola, tend to pull the nipple 'inwards' and that nipple appears retracted, as compared to opposite nipple. The important term here is 'recent' retraction, since many women have retracted nipples since they were young.
Dimpling on the skin or retraction
The surface of the skin becomes hard and thick and one can see the opening of pores on the skin. Occasionally, there may be a small 'reverse bump', where the skin is pulled inside by the tumour, causing a 'pit' on the surface. To understand more about skin changes, Click Here
Bloody or blood stained Nipple Discharge
Nipple discharge is a farily common symptom. The colour of the discharge gives a rough idea about the underlying problem. White, green or yellowish discharges occur in non cancerous conditions and need not be a cause of worry. However, a 'blood stained' discharge or 'bloody' discharge are always a cause of concern and need immediate attention. To read more on nipple discharges, Click Here
Changes in the nipple
There may be a change in the direction of the nipple, due to pull by a tumour below it. Occasionally, the nipple becomes 'scratchy' or having eczema, which could be a sign of cancer.
Hard nodules on skin
In advanced cancers, there are hard nodules on the skin. They feel very 'hard' as compared to the rest of the skin around.
Swelling in the armpit
Breast cancers 'spread' to the 'lymph nodes' in the arm pit. Sometimes, the tumour in breast is very small and not felt easily, but there are enlarged 'nodes' in the armpit, which can be felt. These nodes feel 'firm' while rest of the armpit feels 'soft'
Change in volume or shape of the breast
Larger tumours or tumour in the inner half of the breast tend to stand out and can be easily noticed.