Signs and Symptoms

The foremost sign of breast cancer is a lump that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue. More than 80% of the cases come to light when the woman feels a lump. Also there are lumps found in the lymph nodes in the arm pits that suggest the presence of cancer. Other than lumps, there are several other indicating signs such as thickening of breast tissue, one breast becoming larger or lower than the other, nipple changing shape, position or becoming inverted. Skin changes are also common such as skin puckering or dimpling, presence of rash on or around the nipple also discharge (clear or bloody) from the breast is noted. There is a constant pain the breast and the arm pits and it can extend to the collarbone and areas around it.

There is a type of breast cancer, called Inflammatory Breast Cancer which involves itching, pain, swelling, nipple inversion, warmth and redness throughout the breast. In this type of cancer the skin develops and orange peel type of texture. This type of cancer does not produce a lump, causing a delay in diagnosis. Another symptom of breast cancer is Paget’s disease of the breast. This disease involves skin changes resembling Eczema such as redness, discoloration, or mild flaking of the nipple skin. As the disease advances symptoms may start including tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain. There are rare cases when a lump is observed in the breast and it can be in that case a phyllodes tumour. These tumours occur in the connective tissue of the breast and contain glandular as well as stromal tissue. They are not staged and are classified on the basis of how they appear under the microscope such as benign, borderline and malignant. Metastasis can occur in breast cancer in which case it gives rise to a whole range of symptoms like loss of weight, fevers, chills, bone and joint pains.