Symptoms of Breast Cancer

In early stages of breast cancer, there is usually no pain and there may be no symptoms at all. As the cancer grows, the following symptoms could appear:

  • A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or armpit area.

  • A change in the size or shape of the breast

  • A dimpling or puckering of the skin (like orange peel)

  • Blood or discharge from the nipple

  • A newly retracted (pulled in) nipple

Consult a doctor if you notice any of the above changes.
There are other breast conditions that might mimic the symptoms of breast cancer and so require further tests to diagnose. These include:

  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs more common in women aged 35 – 50)

  • Fibroadenomas (benign tumours made of glandular and fibrous tissue, common in younger women)

  • Hyperplasia (a proliferation of cells in the lobes or ducts)

  • Calcifications (bits of calcium in the breast)

Of these, hyperplasia is believed to increase risk for breast cancer while clusters of tiny calcifications (microcalcifications) can be indications of pre-cancer or cancer.