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Breast Cancer Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of breast cancer can be challenging. The signs may look different for each person, and you may have no symptoms at all. Knowing what to look for between breast cancer screenings can play an important role in diagnosing breast cancer.

Any breast changes or concerns should be checked right away. At the Abramson Cancer Center, we rely on advanced screening and thorough evaluation to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis. We get you the breast cancer treatment you need as soon as possible.

What Are the Signs of Breast Cancer?

Small, early stage breast cancer rarely has symptoms. In those cases, screening is vital to early detection. When breast cancer does cause symptoms, the first sign is often a hard, painless lump or mass. It may be located in either your breast or underarm.

Other, less common breast cancer symptoms include:

  • Swelling in all or part of your breast
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Red, flaky or thickened skin on your breast or nipple
  • Breast pain or heaviness
  • Nipple changes that may include pain or nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Any change in the size or shape of your breast

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast cancer in men is rare. Without regular screening for male breast cancer, symptoms may be the first warning. See your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Mass or lump in the breast
  • Nipple discharge (may be bloody)
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Skin ulcers (open sores) on the breast

Breast Evaluation Program for a Benign Breast Lump

In some cases, breast pain or lumps may be caused by a benign (non-cancerous) issue. You may notice signs of breast cancer, but your imaging does not show a tumor. Our specialized nurse practitioners work to determine the cause of your symptoms. If needed, we connect you with a physician or surgeon for further assessment.

We see you quickly and our evaluation includes:

  • Full physical examination
  • Collection of your medical history
  • Assessment of your breast cancer risk
  • Additional screening and monitoring, when necessary
  • Biopsy, when necessary