For decades, the medical community and the media have run effective awareness campaigns about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and educated the public about the importance of careful monitoring of breast lumps. And the tactic worked. Early detection contributed to a 38 percent drop in breast cancer deaths among women between 1992 and 2018, according to the National Cancer Institute. This is an important step forward, but many other conditions that may indicate breast cancer are less known and discussed. Some people may assume that no lumps or no lumps means no cancer, but this may be a dangerous conclusion.
Most people think of breast lumps when they think of breast cancer symptoms. But doctors say changes in vision are especially important for early detection of breast cancer. You may notice some of these changes just by changing the way you look in the mirror, says Cynthia Lynch, M.D., a medical oncologist at the Cancer Center of America (CTCA) in Phoenix.
“You can see many things just by looking at your breasts in the mirror. “You can’t always see everything when you have your arm by your side,” said Dr. Lynch, clinical advisor for the CTCA® Breast Cancer Program. “Put your hands on your hips or raise them up. Keeping your hands in two different positions while watching also helps.”
In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, including:
Warning signs of breast cancer
Inflammatory symptoms of breast cancer
Breast Cancer Centers at CTCA
If you think you have symptoms of breast cancer and would like a diagnostic test or a second breast cancer opinion at CTCA, please call us or chat online with a member of our team.
Other warning signs of breast cancer include:
Changes in and around the nipple: Changes in the nipple area can be a genetic defect or change, but nipple retraction when the nipple is inverted can be a sign of cancer. If the nipple was not inverted before and it is, consult your doctor.
Bleeding from the nipples: Bleeding from the nipples may be limited and difficult to see, but if you notice blood stains on your bra, pay attention. Clear or milky discharge can be caused by normal physiological changes during puberty. But if the discharge is unusual, bloody, or continuous, talk to your healthcare provider.
Breast skin discoloration and/or thickening: Medically known as orange peel (French for orange peel), dimpling or thickening of the breast skin that resembles an orange peel is a red flag. . These symptoms are often associated with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare but aggressive disease that often does not lump and is not detected by mammography. IBC symptoms are caused by cancer cells blocking the lymphatic vessels in the skin.
Symptoms of IBC include:
Thickening of the skin
Some changes are located in the breast, upper abdomen or back of the chest. Discoloration may be difficult to detect in African Americans and obese patients with excessively large breasts. Breast changes can be seen overnight, and skin changes can occur in less than six months.