Breast cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. The symptoms often appear when the tumor grows large enough to be felt as a lump in the breast or when the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues and organs.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a hard lump formed in the breast. It may feel like it is attached to the skin or the surrounding breast tissue. The lump is painless and has uneven edges. It may be tender, soft, and rounded. A lump that is painful is more often a symptom of a non-cancerous condition. Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast, especially if it only occurs in one breast
- Changes to the nipple, such as a nipple that suddenly starts to point inward (called an inverted nipple)
- Changes in the skin of breast, such as dimpling, puckering or redness
- An unusual pain in the breast, particularly pain that does not go away
These symptoms are more often caused by other medical conditions. For example, changes to the skin texture on the breast may be caused by a skin condition like eczema, and pain in the breast may be caused by an infection or another, unrelated illness.
See your doctor as soon as you can if you notice any of these symptoms. The earlier the issue is detected, the easier it is to treat.