Early symptoms and signs of breast cancer are typically not recognizable; this is why screening mammography is valuable to detect cancers at a very early stage. Even larger breast cancers do not always produce symptoms and signs. When symptoms do occur, the most common symptom is
- a lump or mass in the breast or underarm area.
Other possible symptoms include
- nipple discharge or redness,
- changes in the breast skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like an orange skin), and
- swelling of part of the breast.
Certain types of cancers known as inflammatory breast cancers may produce redness and warmth of the affected breast, but these are not common signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Breast pain is also not a typical symptom, but breast or nipple pain may occur in certain cases.
Breast cancer causes and risk factors
While there are many risk factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer, the exact reason for the development of cancer is unknown. A family history of breast cancer and the presence of certain inherited genes (for example, BRCA1, BRCA2) increase the risk for developing breast cancer.
Related Symptoms & Signs
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Breast Cancer." <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast>.
Main Article on Breast Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
10 Things Young Women Should Know About Breast Cancer
Is breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover...
Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Learn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and...
Breast Cancer Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
This Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. ...
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Cancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss,...