5 Rare Signs of Breast Cancer

Cancer in young people is often more aggressive, making early detection vital.
5 Rare Signs of Breast Cancer

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. It mostly affects women, though men are occasionally diagnosed as well. The risk of developing this disease increases with age, but if detected early, the survival rate is significantly better. Are you familiar with these rare signs of breast cancer? Being able to identify them could save your life.

It is important to go for regular tests after you turn 40 because that is when breast cancer is most likely to strike. However, breast cancer can also affect much younger people. Unfortunately, these cases tend to be more aggressive.

Regardless of age, early detection is key to successful treatment. This is why health experts recommend learning to identify the symptoms that occur at each stage of the disease.

The most common symptoms of breast cancer include lumps in the breast, changes in the skin or structure of the breast, foul-smelling nipple discharge. However, the American Cancer Society states that there are also some rare symptoms that should be carefully analyzed by a specialist. These symptoms might seem to indicate other health problems, but they could be signs of breast cancer.

Rare signs of breast cancer

Itching, redness and pain

It’s normal to experience pain and sensitivity in the breasts, as well as mild itching before and during your period. However, if these symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor. They could be a sign of breast cancer.

In general, these symptoms occur with inflammatory cancer, which produces swelling, itching, and pain in the chest. There are other more obvious symptoms like scaly skin, skin with small blue spots, and cellulitis, among others. In this case, it’s important to act immediately because this type of cancer progresses quickly.

Back pain

People get back pain for a wide variety of reasons. The last thing any of us would want to attribute it to is cancer. Unfortunately, back pain is one of the rare signs of breast cancer. Experts observed that patients diagnosed with breast cancer reported pain between their shoulder blades before any other symptoms of the disease. It’s important to be aware that some types of cancerous tumors develop deep within the breast tissue, causing pain in the back or ribs. Cancer that has metastasized can also cause back pain.

Pain and sensitivity in the armpits


One of the first areas of the body to show signs of breast cancer is the armpits. Many studies show that swollen, painful lymph nodes in the armpit may be an early indicator of breast cancer, just like the lymph nodes in the neck and throat can indicate the flu.

Patients might notice swollen lymph nodes long before experiencing symptoms in their chest. If you experience pain in one or both armpits, or you notice differences between the two, you should consult with your doctor. These symptoms do not always mean breast cancer, but it’s better to be on the safe side.

Changes to the nipple and discharge

One area of the breast where cancer is most obvious is below the nipple. The presence of cancerous breast tissue can cause changes in appearance as well as sensitivity. The nipple may also have an unusual texture and feel more tender. Another sign of breast cancer is a non-lactating nipple that secretes fluid, blood or milk. This happens when the tumor forms in or behind the milk duct. In both cases, a medical examination is crucial for early detection and treatment.

Changes in shape

Some women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer notice obvious changes in the shape of their breasts. For example, one stays round while the other has an oval shape. There are also cases of women who notice changes on just one side of the breast, making it look uneven. These irregularities in the breasts are usually more noticeable when wearing a bra. In this situation, you should conduct a breast self-exam and consult a specialist.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.