The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common symptoms are a change in the look or feel of the breast, nipple or nipple discharge.
Try to know what is normal for your breast and nipple go see a health provider if you notice any of these breast changes:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
In most cases, the changes are not cancerous. However, the only way to be sure is to see a health care provider. If you have breast cancer, the survival rate is highest if found in the early stages.
It is important to remember that each person’s breasts are different. So, some women may find that their breasts feel lumpy all the time. This can be due to the natural bumpy texture of breast tissue. If the lumpy texture can be felt throughout the whole breast and the breasts feel like each other, then it is likely normal breast tissue. However, if the lumps feel harder or different in one section of the breast or one breast compared to the other breast, it should be checked out. This type of lump could be breast cancer or a benign breast condition.
If you notice any of the following changes, see a health care provider:
- Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from the rest of your breast
- Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from your other breast
- Feel something that is different from what you felt before
Nipple discharge is another change that can be uncomfortable, but is rarely cancer. The discharge could be the body’s natural reaction to the nipple being squeezed.
If you notice nipple discharge that is any of the following, see a health provider:
- Occurs without squeezing the nipple
- Is bloody or clear (not milky)
While nipple discharge is rarely cancer, it can be the sign of an infection or other condition that needs treatment. See a health care provider if you have any nipple discharge.
See the top 8 breast cancer warning signs at http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/WarningSigns.html
We’re celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the next six weeks. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use the hashtag #bcjourney to join in the conversation.