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Breast Cancer Symptoms

It is important to be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel, so that you can identify any unusual changes. Symptoms of breast cancer will depend on where the tumour is, the size of the tumour and how quickly it is growing in the breast. Some people will not have any symptoms and the breast cancer is found during a screening mammogram (a low dose x-ray of the breast).

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

Symptoms of breast cancer may include:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast, especially if it is only in one breast
  • Changes to the shape or size of the breast
  • Changes to the shape of the nipple, such as crusting, sores or ulcers, redness or inversion (a nipple that turns in when it used to point out).
  • Changes to the skin of the breast, such as dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel), a rash, scaly appearance, unusual redness or other colour changes
  • Fluid leaking or discharge from the nipple that occurs without squeezing
  • Persistent, unusual pain that doesn’t go away
  • Swelling or discomfort in the armpit

Early detection gives the best possible chance of survival, so it is important to be breast aware to ensure that you can spot any changes as soon as they appear.

What should I do if I experience any of the symptoms of breast cancer?

It is important to remember that most breast changes are not caused by cancer, and the symptoms listed can be caused by other medical conditions. However, if you have noticed any symptoms or changes in your breasts, it is important that you see your doctor without delay so that the changes can be checked. This may include a physical examination or imaging of your breasts.

Do women only experience these breast cancer symptoms?

No, symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those that women experience. Learn more about what these symptoms are and how breast cancer affects men.