8 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer That We Often Overlook

8 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer That We Often Overlook

Your body undergoes many changes if you have breast cancer and it's important to catch it before it does irrevocable damage.

Image Source: Illustration

The presence of a breast lump is the most commonly known symptom of breast cancer. It's recommended to check your breasts for lumps once every month by using your finger pad to gently press in a circular pattern from the outside to the center of the breast and the armpit. This way you would know the structure better making it easier for you to identify if there's an occurrence of a lump, thickening, or hardened knot. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. advises you to seek professional help if you notice any of the above abnormalities. 

However, there are many other indicators of the illness that we often tend to ignore. While these signs may not necessarily mean that you have cancer, there's no harm in getting them checked out by a doctor immediately. Breast cancer can cause changes to the skin on and around your breast and chest and sometimes, it goes undetected until a doctor performs a mammogram to determine the same. Knowing these signs can help you do a preliminary screening by yourself.

Image Source: Getty Images (Representative)


Here are seven other signs that you should look out for apart from checking for lumps:

1. Dimpling

This symptom could be a sign of an aggressive kind of breast cancer. When cancer cells result in a buildup of lymph fluids, it could cause inflammation, dimpling, or pitted skin, which looks similar to an orange peel. 

2. Changes in the texture of your skin

Look out for the formation of scaly skin around the nipple and areola, which makes the skin look sunburned or extremely dry, and thickening of the skin. Cancer causes changes and inflammation in the cells which could lead to changes in the texture of your skin. Some may experience itching, but it's not common. These changes could also be an indication of Paget's disease, a rare type of breast cancer, but it could also mean dermatitis or eczema. 

Image Source: Getty Images (Representative)

3. Pain in your breast or nipple

Breast or nipple pain is normal during pre-menstrual syndrome, however, if the pain persists you should consider seeing a doctor. While many people with breast cancer experience no pain, others have described it to be a burning sensation. 

4. Nipple discharge

Unless it's a milky discharge from the nipples while you're breastfeeding, secretion from your nipple is not normal. If the discharge is yellow, green, or red in color, you should immediately seek advice from a doctor, irrespective of whether you're breastfeeding or not. Although, it noncancerous for most people, it could be a sign of cancer in some, according to Medical News Today

You may experience nipple discharge due to breast infections, a side-effect of birth control pills or other medication, changes in body physiology, and medical conditions like thyroid. 

Image Source: Getty Images (Representative)

5. Changes in the lymph nodes

Cancer cells first travel to the underarm lymph nodes if they spread out of the breast region. It could lead to swelling in the area and are also noticeable in the collarbone region as well. They feel like small, firm, swollen lumps, which are tender to touch. 

6. Nipple retraction

If your nipple looks like it's been pulled in or appears different in its position or shape in general, it's an important and telling sign, according to Breast Cancer Care.

7. Redness

If you notice patches of red or purple, discoloration, bruising without having undergone any trauma to the chest region, you should see a doctor because your skin also may get affected in case of breast cancer. 


Dealing with cancer of any kind can be daunting but breast cancer, which mostly occurs in women, is especially traumatic for cis women as it can mean losing a part of your body which is associated with womanhood. It's natural to experience trauma and grief, which can only heal with time and care. However, it's always better to be informed about the disease to help you get diagnosed and prepare yourself better.

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Recommended for you