Where Is Breast Cancer Usually Located?

Medically Reviewed on 6/9/2022
breast cancer
In many cases, breast cancer may have no symptoms until it is too advanced.

Breast cancer may start in any part of the breast and may affect either the ductal or lobular cells or even the connective tissue in between.

Many studies have observed that:

  • Breast cancer is more common in the left breast than in the right by about 10 percent.
  • The upper outer quadrant of either breast is the most frequent site for the occurrence of breast cancer.
  • Cancer of milk-producing ducts (ductal carcinoma) is more common.
  • Breast cancer may begin in the glandular breast tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells of the breast.

8 symptoms suggestive of breast cancer

In many cases, breast cancer may have no symptoms until it is too advanced. It is, therefore, important to do regular self-examinations of the breast, as well as have preventive health check-ups with the doctor.

  1. A lump in the breast or axilla (armpit)
  2. Nipple discharge or flaky skin over nipples
  3. Constant pain or discomfort in the breast
  4. Dimpling over breast skin or appearance of the rash, which does not subside
  5. The appearance of unequal breasts
  6. Unequal nipple positions, sinking in or inversion of the nipple, or upward facing nipple
  7. Unintentional weight loss
  8. Red crusted area over breast or nipples

How can you tell if a lump is cancerous?

There is no definite way to know if a lump is cancerous without a biopsy or mammography. Additionally, the breast tissue itself can feel somewhat lumpy because it has fibrous tissue along with fats. Sometimes, feeling a thickened tender area in the breast around periods is normal. However, it is better to be cautious and consult a gynecologist.

A breast lump will generally feel like a distinct mass that is more solid compared to surrounding tissue; it may or may not move while you feel it. Always feel the breast with both your palms and not with your fingertips when looking for breast mass. Press around the nipple and check for any discharge. Raise your hands and look if the nipples are aligned in a straight line or if one nipple appears above the other. Feel the armpits for any lumps as well.

As a rule, any lump, irrespective of size, position, and pain should be evaluated by your doctor. They may subsequently advise investigations, such as mammography, for further evaluation.

What is triple-negative breast cancer?

Breast cancer may have a hormonal and genetic predisposition. If the tumor cells have specific receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or a protein called human epidermal growth factor (HER2), the doctor can administer specific medications that specifically target these receptors. Cancer has better treatment outcomes.

In triple-negative breast cancer, none of these three receptors are present. As the result, the only available treatment options are surgery and chemotherapy with radiation to some extent. However, if detected early, your doctor can treat every type of breast cancer aggressively, giving you a better chance of recovery and treatment outcomes.

Triple-negative breast cancer is often found in certain ethnicities, such as the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Hence, the doctor may recommend an appointment with a genetic counselor and even ask other women in your family to get tested for breast cancers, despite no obvious mass.


A lump in the breast is almost always cancer. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 6/9/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/triple-negative.htm