October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so there’s no better time to talk about symptoms. Many of the symptoms of breast cancer are invisible and go unnoticed without a professional screening, such as a mammogram or ultrasound. However, some symptoms can be caught early just by looking out for changes in your breasts and being proactive about your breast health.
Symptoms and signs of breast cancer can include:
A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
- A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast
- A lump in the breast
A change in the breast or nipple appearance
- Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast
- Unexplained swelling of the breast
- Unexplained shrinkage of the breast
- Recent asymmetry of the breasts
- A nipple that is slightly inward or inverted
- The skin of the breasts, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange
Any nipple discharge – particularly clear or bloody discharge
It is also important to note that a milky discharge present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is unlikely linked with breast cancer.
Most often these symptoms are not due to cancer, but any symptom you do notice should be investigated immediately. If you have any of these symptoms tell your healthcare provider so that you can receive a diagnosis and treatment.
There are several resources available online, but if you do have any questions do not hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider.