Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyBCTeam

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Updated on February 02, 2020

Article written by
Kelly Crumrin

Some women go to their doctor after they notice symptoms of breast cancer during or between regular monthly self-exams. Catching breast cancer early improves the chances of treating it effectively and increases the survival rate. If you notice changes in your breasts, go to your doctor immediately.

Once cancer has been diagnosed and is being treated, you are far more likely to experience side effects of breast cancer treatments than symptoms of the cancer itself.

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

A healthy breast can look or feel different for many normal reasons. The menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, a poorly fitting bra, weight loss or gain, injury, overenthusiastic sexual play, and benign cysts can all change the way a breast looks or feels. However, the changes listed below can also be associated with breast cancer.

  • Clear or bloody discharge from the nipple
  • A lump in the breast or under the arm
  • Pain, tenderness, or thickened tissue in the breast or under the arm
  • Unexplained change in breast size or shape
  • Swelling or shrinking – especially on one side
  • Unusual warmth or darkening skin
  • Breasts that were symmetrical (the same on both sides) suddenly look different
  • Nipple tenderness
  • A change in breast skin texture such as dimpling, puckering, or larger pores (“orange peel skin”)
  • Red, scaly, or itchy skin on the nipple or areola (ring of darker skin around the nipple)
  • Ridges or pits in the skin of the breast or nipple
  • The nipple retracts (turns inward)

Condition Guide

Resources

External resources

FAQ

What symptoms lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer?
Breast cancer cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. Diagnosis of breast cancer is based on the results of imaging scans and a pathology report for breast tissue collected during a biopsy.

Kelly leads the creation of content that educates and empowers people with chronic illnesses. Learn more about her here.

A MyBCTeam Member said:

Severe shoulder pain, very strange in 2013, dx. 1/2014.

posted 3 months ago

hug

Recent articles

Bclogo
Friends and family usually mean well. It’s fair to say they always mean well when they hear that...

Things You Should Never Say to a Woman with Breast Cancer

Friends and family usually mean well. It’s fair to say they always mean well when they hear that...
Eyelashes  eyebrows  and breast cancer
Losing eyelashes and eyebrows to breast cancer treatment can be an emotional blow for women on...

Eyelashes, Eyebrows, and Breast Cancer

Losing eyelashes and eyebrows to breast cancer treatment can be an emotional blow for women on...
Mht infographic symptoms mybcteam
Below the surface, facing breast cancer can mean anxiety, pain, leftover symptoms from treatment,...

Breast Cancer: What People Don't See (Infographic)

Below the surface, facing breast cancer can mean anxiety, pain, leftover symptoms from treatment,...
Healthy eating and breast cancer
Healthy eating can be difficult after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. While there is no...

Healthy Eating and Breast Cancer

Healthy eating can be difficult after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. While there is no...
Mht fb newnormal mybcteam 01
If a breast cancer diagnosis is like falling off a cliff, then grappling with this new reality is...

Finding a New Normal: Living With Breast Cancer

If a breast cancer diagnosis is like falling off a cliff, then grappling with this new reality is...
Angelo pantazis h0angggseio unsplash
Swimming can be great exercise following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, but returning to the pool...

Swimming After Breast Cancer Surgery

Swimming can be great exercise following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, but returning to the pool...
Lymphedema %28swelling%29 after breast cancer treatment
If your lymph nodes were removed during breast cancer surgery or damaged during radiation...

Lymphedema (Swelling) After Breast Cancer Treatment

If your lymph nodes were removed during breast cancer surgery or damaged during radiation...
Tips for relaxing and managing stress  lifehacks from mybcteam members
Members of MyBCTeam often share lifehacks – tips you'd never get from your doctor that can help...

Tips for Relaxing and Managing Stress: Lifehacks from MyBCTeam Members

Members of MyBCTeam often share lifehacks – tips you'd never get from your doctor that can help...
Coronavirus
Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to Harvard Medical School, those of us living with...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Breast Cancer

Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to Harvard Medical School, those of us living with...
Bclogo
On most mobile devices, you can access an internet browser and type in www.mybcteam.com. To save...

MyBCTeam to go: Get the free upgraded mobile app!

On most mobile devices, you can access an internet browser and type in www.mybcteam.com. To save...
MyBCTeam My breast cancer Team

Two Ways to Get Started with MyBCTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with breast cancer. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about breast cancer sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyBCTeam My breast cancer Team

Thank you for signing up.

close