The 7 main signs of breast cancer Inflammation of the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone. Swelling of all or part of the breasts Breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction Redness, scaling, or thickening of the skin on the nipple or breast, discharge from the nipple It may be in the same breast (local), in the lymph nodes close to the original cancer (regional), or in a part of the body that is further away (metastatic or distant). Mammograms (low-dose breast x-rays) can help detect a breast tumor long before it is large enough to start causing symptoms and when the cancer is likely to be treated more easily. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, redness, swelling, itching, and pain are usually signs of a breast infection, such as mastitis, which can be treated with antibiotics.
Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan for treating breast cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you also have signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. However, mammograms alone can't detect all cases of breast cancer, so it's important to pay attention to breast changes because you know your body better. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported immediately to your doctor.
The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by menstruation, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. The most common is a breast lump, which can be located anywhere on the chest wall up to below the armpit. According to the American Cancer Society, regular mammograms are the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early. Therefore, a breast self-exam, a clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer.
The fibrocystic condition causes non-cancerous changes in the breasts that can cause lumps, tenderness, and pain. When the tumor is small in the early stages of breast cancer, it is rarely noticeable to the touch or the naked eye. A painless lump in the breast is usually the first sign of breast cancer, although you may not feel it yourself. Because the main symptom of breast cancer is an abnormal lump in the breast and because non-invasive breast cancer is usually accompanied by a tumor so small that it can only be detected by a mammogram, non-invasive breast cancer is unlikely to cause noticeable physical symptoms.