In its early stages, breast cancer usually has no symptoms. As a tumor develops, you may note the following signs:

  • A lump in the breast or underarm that persists after your menstrual cycle; often the first apparent symptom of breast cancer, breast lumps are painless, although some may cause a prickly sensation. Lumps are usually visible on a mammogram long before they can be seen or felt
  • Swelling in the armpit
  • Although lumps are usually painless, pain or tenderness in the breast can be a sign of breast cancer
  • A noticeable flattening or indentation on the breast, which may indicate a tumor that cannot be seen or felt
  • Any change in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of the breast; a reddish, pitted surface like the skin of an orange could be a sign of advanced breast cancer
  • A change in the nipple, such as an indrawn or dimpled look, itching or burning sensation, or ulceration; scaling of the nipple is symptomatic of Paget’s disease, a localized cancer
  • Unusual discharge from the nipple that may be clear, bloody, or another color. It’s usually caused by benign conditions but could be due to cancer in some cases

  • A marble-like area under the skin

  • An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast

Call Your Doctor About Breast Cancer If:

  • One or both breasts develop an abnormal lump or persistent pain, or look or feel abnormal. The cause often is something other than cancer but should be identified
  • You have swollen lymph glands in your armpits. Any such swelling could be associated with cancer