10 Symptoms That Could Be a Sign of Breast Cancer

18 December, 2019
Irregularities in the contours of the breasts, size changes, a lump in the armpit, or pain when you squeeze your breast are some of the early symptoms of breast cancer.

The majority of people ignore the signs the body gives to alert them that something is wrong. This happens with breast cancer. While it’s true that you don’t always need to be alarmed with the onset of every symptom, they shouldn’t be entirely ignored either since they could be an indication of a serious health problem.

In the case of breast cancer, experts insist that early detection is the most effective way to reduce the impact of the disease and increase the odds of survival.

Early symptoms of breast cancer

However, its initial symptoms are often ignored and are only detected when the disease has progressed to the advanced stages in the majority of cases. Being familiar with the first signs and symptoms of breast cancer is a preventative measure to detect the illness early. Today, we’ll share the 10 early symptoms of breast cancer.

1. Unexplained weight loss

If you experience unexplained weight loss, i.e. losing weight even though you aren’t dieting or doing a special exercise program, you should try to figure out the cause. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any unexplained weight loss.

  • Experts at Cancer.Net indicate that weight loss is often one of the first and most common signs of cancer.
  • If you started losing weight because you don’t have much of an appetite, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • The sudden loss of more than 5 kg could be one of the first signs of breast cancer.

2. Fatigue

Feeling fatigued at the end of the day or while going through a tense situation is common. The risk comes when the fatigue becomes chronic and doesn’t go away after dedicating the proper amount of time to rest. It can also be a concern if it comes along with other symptoms (like localized bone pain). If you experience this symptom, visit your doctor for an evaluation.

Experts at the American Cancer Association explain that when fatigue is a sign of cancer, people can feel extremely weak, unmotivated, exhausted, or worn down. They might even have a hard time doing small things like using the remote control, answering their cell phone, going to the bathroom, eating, etc.

A tired woman.

3. Abnormal bleeding

Any type of unexpected bleeding or hemorrhaging could be among breast cancer warning signs or other illnesses. In general, people with this disease experience a small amount of bleeding from the nipple.

4. Lumps

The majority of lumps or nodules are benign, but still alarming. For years, experts warned that lumps or masses in the breasts could be a warning sign of cancer. However, they aren’t always a sign of breast cancer. They could also be caused by an infection or cysts.

According to the Spanish Association Against Cancer, a lump in the armpit is one of the most common signs of breast cancer.

5. Skin changes

The skin on the breast can also suffer from changes that could be signs of breast cancer. Some of those potential symptoms could be:

  • Ulcers.
  • Redness.
  • Color change.
  • Celulitis or “orange skin”

6. The sinking of the nipple

While examining the breast, it’s really important to carefully examine the nipples to check that they’re normal and haven’t changed in appearance.

The retraction or sinking of the nipple is almost a sure sign of breast cancer.

Read more: Breast Health: Are Nipple Bumps Normal?

7. Breast pain

In the first stages, it’s uncommon to feel pain or tightness in the breast.

However, when the disease has advanced, it’s very common to experience sensitivity and pain in the breasts without touching them.

Of course, this pain should not be confused with the pain and sensitivity that can appear with PMS or mastitis.

8. Changes in breast size

Noticing changes in breast size are also really important for the early detection of breast cancer.

If one breast appears inflamed or smaller in size, it can be a sign that requires immediate medical attention.

A woman examining her breast.

9. Nipple secretions

Sometimes, nipple secretions aren’t a problem and disappear on their own in a few days.

However, in many cases of this disease, nipple secretions are reported as one of the symptoms. Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer reported a foul-smelling secretion from one or both nipples.

10. Irregularities

Noticing changes in the shape or texture of the breast is another way to detect cancer early. Irregularities in the contour, as well as redness or small holes in the skin are clear signs of this disease.

Read more: Causes of Breast Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

What are some of the risk factors?

Breast cancer mostly affects women, but it is possible for it to develop in men. The main risk factors include:

  • Being a woman, age 55 or older.
  • A family history of breast cancer.
  • Having your first period before 12 years of age.
  • Undergoing late or early menopause.
  • Obesity.
  • Never having had children.

Remember that early detection increases the chances for successful treatment, so visit your doctor if you notice anything that causes you concern.

  • Breast cancer. National Institute of Health. Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. https://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=73
  • National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov