What is the number one symptom of breast cancer?

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. A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest, or armpit A change in the skin, such as wrinkles or dimples. Most breast lumps aren't cancerous.

Lumps that aren't cancerous are called benign lumps. It's important that your doctor always check for a breast lump. They will arrange for you to have tests done to determine if the lump is cancerous or not. Skin changes include wrinkles, dimples, rash, or redness of the skin of the breast.

Some people have a rash or redness on the nipple and surrounding skin. Being referred to a breast clinic doesn't mean you have breast cancer, just that an additional evaluation is needed to find out what's going on. Breast cancer is called triple negative if it doesn't have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and doesn't produce a large amount of a protein called HER2.The appearance and feel of the breasts may be affected by having periods, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breast cancer starts in breast tissue, most commonly in the cells that line the breast's milk ducts.

A cancer can make the breast look larger or have a different shape than usual, or it may feel different. Breast cancer that spreads from where it started to surrounding tissues is called invasive or infiltrating. Mastectomy and surgery to replace a breast (reconstruction) can cause scar tissue or fat cells to build up. 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).

Itching usually isn't a sign of breast cancer, but find out when it may be and when to see your doctor. A rare type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer may have different symptoms than other types. The fibrocystic condition causes non-cancerous changes in the breasts that can cause lumps, tenderness, and pain. A less common cause of swollen lymph nodes or lumps in the armpit is breast cancer that has spread to this area.

Tonya Sharrai
Tonya Sharrai

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