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What are the symptoms of breast cancer? This is one of those questions that everyone should be able to answer, especially women. For some forms of breast cancer, timing is crucial.

Thus, you want to be prepared, so that when a symptom appears, you are immediately thinking of what to do next, rather than wasting time trying to figure out whether it means anything at all.

Before we review the common symptoms of breast cancer, we should note that if you do find yourself having one or more of these symptoms, please see a healthcare professional right away. It may be nothing.

But it is not the sort of thing you want to be nonchalant about.

Here are the common symptoms of breast cancer:

Lump, Bumps, Texture, Thickening & Abnormal Tenderness

    • A lump in the breast. (Some lumps are normal and natural, but every lump should be reported to your healthcare professional without delay. If you meet with your healthcare professional periodically, you will probably know better what feels right and what does not. Any lump, however, should still be reported to your healthcare professional.)
    • A skin texture change, especially if it feels more callous or rough, somewhat like an orange peel’s skin.
    • A bump or hardness in the pores of the skin.
    • A thickening (sort of a lump) in or near the breast area, including in the area of the underarm.
    • Abnormal nipple tenderness.

Abnormal Changes of Appearance

Any unexplained or unusual change of appearance, including:

  • A change in the size of the breast (both enlargement and shrinkage).
  • A change in the shape of the breast.
  • A dimpling on the breast.
  • A swelling of the breast
  • A lopsided breast.
  • An asymmetry of the breasts.
  • An inward turned nipple.
  • An inverted nipple.
  • Scaly skin around the breast, areola or nipple.

Abnormal Nipple Discharge

Any unexplained or unusual nipple discharge, including:

  • A clear discharge.
  • A bloody discharge.

Please note that a milky discharge when not breastfeeding is not a sign or symptom of breast cancer, but should still be reported to your healthcare professional to determine what other issue is occurring.

A common question in response to this information is whether these symptoms automatically mean the person has breast cancer. In most cases, these symptoms are present due to reasons other than breast cancer. But the consequences of breast cancer are so severe, that you should not take any chances or ignore these symptoms. Rather, you should be safe, rather than sorry, and simply get a checkup right away. Any of the above symptoms should be reported to your healthcare professional, and then you can put them out of your mind (assuming they turn out to be benign & safe).