Ask a woman to name a sign or symptom of breast cancer, and chances are she'd say a lump in the breast.
She'd be right, of course. A new lump or mass is the most common symptom of breast cancer, but it's not the only one. And because it's best to find breast cancer early, it's important to know all the possible signs and symptoms of the disease.
Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel is a key component of breast health. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms in a breast, you should see a doctor right away:
• A lump. Cancerous breast lumps tend to be hard, painless and irregular (rather than rounded) around the edges.
• Swelling of all or part of a breast—or sometimes in the armpit or collarbone area—even if you can't feel a lump.
• Irritated or dimpled breast skin.
• A nipple that points inward on one side.
• Nipple scaling or rash at the tip.
• Nipple discharge, which may be bloody or clear (usually occurs spontaneously).
Any of these signs and symptoms, including lumps, can be caused by things other than cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure.
It's important to remember that breast changes are very common, and most are not cancer, but it's crucial to get any follow-up tests your doctor orders.
Watson Clinic provides the latest 3D mammography technology at both our Women’s Center and Highlands locations. Schedule your next mammogram by calling 863-680-7755, option 3.
Sources: American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute