Understanding Your Symptoms - Could it Be Breast Cancer?

Feeling uncertain about symptoms can be a frightening experience, so it is important to know if and when you should seek medical advice. First, breast cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages. Women with early breast cancer usually don’t have pain or notice any breast changes caused by the cancer. This is why routine screening tests are so important, as they can detect the disease in its early stages.

However, some symptoms may appear as the cancer progresses. You should call your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • A lump, thickening, or swelling in or near your breast or under your arm
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Nipple discharge, especially if it's bloody
  • Nipple inversion, meaning the nipple pulls back into your breast
  • Nipple or breast pain, tenderness or aching
  • A change in the look of the skin of your breast, areola or nipple, such as becoming dimpled or puckered or turning red or purple
  • A change in the feel of the skin of your breast, areola or nipple, such as turning itchy or scaly

It's also important to know that any of these symptoms can mimic other health problems and do not necessarily mean you have breast cancer.

Next Steps

If any of the above symptoms are present, schedule a breast cancer screening to get medical advice from your provider. Your doctor will likely perform a mammogram, an ultrasound, or other diagnostic tests.

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