Sometimes, cancer has a warning sign; know the breast cancer symptoms

October 8, 2014 | by Nicole White

Screening for breast cancer has dramatically increased the number of cancers found before they cause symptoms – catching the disease when it is most treatable and curable.


mammogram If you notice a change in your breast, such as a lump or clear discharge, check with your doctor immediately.


Mammograms, however, are not infallible.

It’s important to conduct self-exams, and know the signs and symptoms that should be checked by a health care professional.

The most common symptom is a new lump or mass. Cancerous masses tend to be hard, painless and have irregular edges, but breast cancer can also be tender, rounded, soft and even painful.

Other signs include:

  • Swelling of part or all of the breast
  • Dimpling or skin irritation
  • Breast or nipple pain, especially pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
  • Nipple inversion
  • Nipple discharge that is clear or bloody (not breast milk)
  • Change in shape or size of breast
  • Itchy sore or rash on the nipple
  • Lumps or swelling under the arm or around collar bones, which could be swollen lymph nodes

Any of these symptoms can be caused by conditions that are not breast cancer. So if you experience these symptoms, check with your doctor or a health care provider experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.

Source: City of Hope and the American Cancer Society

** Learn more about breast cancer treatment and research at City of Hope.

Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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