Breast Cancer Symptoms

The early symptoms of breast cancer that most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Most lumps (90%) are not cancerous, but it is always best to have them checked by your breast cancer Consultant.

If you note the following signs please see your GP in the first instance.

Some symptoms to be aware of are;

  • A lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast.  Although lumps are usually painless, pain or tenderness in the breast can be a sign of breast cancer.
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts.
  • A noticeable flattening or indentation of the breast skin, which may indicate a tumour that cannot be seen or felt.
  • Discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood).  This is usually caused by benign conditions, but may be due to cancer in some cases.
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits.
  • Any change in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of the breast.
  • A reddish, pitted surface like the skin of an orange could be a sign of advanced breast cancer.
  • Dimpling of the skin of your breasts.
  • A rash on or around your nipple.
  • A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming indented within your breast, an indrawn or dimpled look, itching or burning sensation, ulceration, and finally scaling of the nipple, which is symptomatic of Paget’s disease.
  • Pain in either of your breasts or armpits, that is not related to your period.
  • A marble-like lump under the skin.
  • An area that is distinctly different from any other area of either breast.

Be breast aware. Learn what your breasts look and feel like. Get to know what is normal for you. The appearance and feel of breasts can change at different times of the menstrual cycle. The milk-producing tissue in the breast becomes active in the days before a period starts. In some women, the breasts at this time feel tender and lumpy, especially in the upper-outer part of the breast near the armpits.

After a hysterectomy (removal of the womb), the breasts usually show the same monthly changes until the time when your periods would have stopped naturally.

After the menopause, activity in the milk-producing tissue stops. Normal breasts can feel soft, less firm and not lumpy.

Check your breasts monthly. Any changes, see your GP or make an appointment here