Which of the following is the most common 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. Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. However, most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions.

The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast disease and cysts. The fibrocystic condition causes non-cancerous changes in the breasts that can cause lumps, tenderness, and pain. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can form in the breast. 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.

A painless lump in the breast is usually the first sign of breast cancer, although you may not feel it yourself. Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or to conditions that are less of a concern than breast cancer. The vast majority of breast cancers are detected during daily activities, such as showering, applying deodorant, or even scratching. For example, changes in breast skin texture may be due to a skin condition such as eczema, and swollen lymph nodes may be due to a breast infection or other unrelated condition.

Unlike other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) rarely causes breast lumps and may not show up on a mammogram. Knowing what your breasts look and feel and being alert to the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, such as a lump, can help you detect the disease early, when it's easier to treat. A cancer can make the breast look larger or have a different shape than usual, or it may feel different. According to the American Cancer Society, regular mammograms are the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early.

The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer depend on the part of the body where the cancer has spread and its stage. Bevers recommends that women see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, no matter how mild they seem. 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. Therefore, a breast self-exam, a clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer.

The most common is a breast lump, which can be located anywhere on the chest wall up to below the armpit. 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.

Tonya Sharrai
Tonya Sharrai

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