Breast Lumps - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The symptoms of breast cancer include painless breast lumps, nipple discharge, and inflammation of the skin of the breast. Sometimes breast cancer may not cause any symptoms.

Breast cancer usually causes no pain in the breast. Although women often worry about breast pain, most women with breast pain do not have breast cancer.

Nipple discharge that occurs without the nipple being touched can be caused by benign (non-cancerous) growths. Examples of these growths are intraductal papillomas (non-cancerous growths that protrude into the milk ducts) and dilated areas of milk ducts (ductal ectasia). Nipple discharge can also be caused by cancer of the breast tissue. Because nipple discharge can be a sign of cancer, it needs to be evaluated by a doctor.

Skin changes on the breast, including redness and warmth, can sometimes be a sign of breast cancer. A form of breast cancer that commonly causes these signs of inflammation is Paget's disease of the breast. However, most inflammation or rashes on the breast are not due to cancer. They may be caused by benign problems such as nipple eczema or a fungus infection. Still, any breast rashes should be evaluated by a doctor. Areas that are especially scaly and red, particularly if they are persistent, or if there is also nipple discharge, are often sampled (biopsied) to rule out cancer.

Return to Breast Lumps (In Women)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

two or three times it sort of very sharp pain.

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I am 51 years old and have fibrocystic breast disease. It affects both breasts. I have had it since my mid-teens. I have both adenomas and fluid filled cysts. I have almost always been able to feel these lumps myself. On occasion my breasts do leak fluid. When a new cyst forms, it is often painful, but this usually goes away after a while even though the lump does not. I have had many, many ultrasounds and mammograms. I have had a few biopsies, by needle, core tissue sample and surgical removal of the lump in question. So far none of them have been cancerous. I am very grateful for the doctors, techs, surgeons and pathologists who have taken care of me through all of this. I understand the fear and stress in the waiting, but I also know the importance of being extremely accurate in the investigative process, even when this takes more time than I wish it would.

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