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While awareness of breast cancer has become fairly common in our society, there is often little understanding about all of the symptoms that can help with early diagnosis. These signs can play an important role in finding breast cancer before it’s too late, but should not forgo the process of regular screening tests and mammograms.

The most typical sign of breast cancer is the presence of a lump in the breast tissue. This mass is often irregularly shaped, sometimes painless, but not always, and can be either hard or soft to the touch. It is important to perform regular, monthly checks so that any new lump or mass can be reported to your healthcare provider.

Several other less known symptoms include:

  • Breast or Nipple Pain
  • Irritation of the Skin or Dimpling
  • Any Swelling of the Breast Tissue (Lump or Not)
  • Retraction of the Nipple
  • Redness or Thickening of the Nipple or Breast Skin
  • Nipple Discharge That is Not Breast Milk

Breast cancer can even spread to the lymph nodes in the areas under your arm or around your collarbone. These areas may contain swelling or even a lump prior to the tumor forming in your breast tissue. For these reason, it is important to see your doctor when experiencing this symptom or any of the signs listed above.

Early detection continues to be the most important defense against breast cancer as it allows the best chance to defeat this aggressive disease. While not all of these symptoms can be caused by breast cancer, it is important to know the signs and be aware so that we can make early detection a priority and save vital time and lives. Make sure you know the signs & symptoms and conduct your own personal breast exam every month!