The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass (although most breast lumps are not cancerous). A hard, painless mass with irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can also be soft, round, tender, or even painful. In addition to swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, a person may notice them around the collarbone. They usually feel like small, firm, swollen lumps and may be tender to the touch.
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive condition that is rarer than other types of breast cancer. Although changes in breast size can be a symptom of any type of breast cancer, the National Cancer Institute states that a rapid increase in breast size could be an indication of inflammatory breast cancer. In another type of breast cancer, known as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), abnormal cells form in the glands that produce milk. Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that cause feelings of pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast.
To determine if your signs and symptoms are early signs of breast cancer, check with your doctor. Another type of breast cancer, known as inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), only rarely causes lumps or symptoms. Breast cancer that spreads from where it started to surrounding tissues is called invasive or infiltrating. The first thing to know about early signs of breast cancer is that they can vary from person to person, so something that might indicate breast cancer in one person may not be breast cancer in another.
The doctor can evaluate symptoms, examine the affected breast or breasts, and recommend additional tests if needed. However, people should be proactive about their health and visit a doctor to determine the cause of any breast symptoms. Because cancer cells haven't invaded nearby tissue, doctors consider DCIS to be a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. In addition, some people don't have any signs of breast cancer when the condition is in its early stages.
Breast cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms in its early stages, but it can cause signs that every woman should know about. Breasts can change in size during the menstrual cycle, flat or inverted nipples are common throughout life, and milk leakage is very normal during pregnancy or shortly after having a baby.