Health A-Z

Signs of Breast Cancer in Women

In the United States, 192,370 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and 40,170 women died from it.

Early treatment is key to surviving breast cancer, so knowing what to look for is critical for women of all ages.

The Signs of Breast Cancer in Women Include

  • A lump or thickening in the breast that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Nipple discharge or tenderness
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Changes to the breast skin, such as dimpling
  • An inverted nipple, where the nipple is pulled back into the breast
  • Peeling or flaking of the nipple’s skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast, like an orange

The most common type of breast cancer begins in the milk ducts that carry milk to the nipple, but cancer may form in the small sacs, called lobules, that produce milk, or in other breast tissue.

There are Five Types of Breast Cancer

  • Noninvasive cancer, where abnormal cells haven’t spread outside the milk duct or are found only in the lining of the milk lobule.
  • Invasive breast cancer, where the cancer has spread to the breast tissue around the milk lobules.
  • Metatastic breast cancer, where the cancer began in the breast and spread to the bones, lungs, liver and brain.
  • Locally advanced breast cancer, an inflammatory form of breast cancer that’s rate and very aggressive. The breast may look red, feel warm and have ridges or welts. This form of cancer may be misdiagnosed as an infection.
  • Recurrent breast cancer, where the cancer may come back in the breast, in the soft tissues of the chest or another part of the body.

Women who notice any of these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

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