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It’s Not Always A Lump: 6 Little-Known Signs That May Indicate Breast Cancer

It’s common knowledge that a lump in the breast may indicate cancer, but breast cancer can also have other lesser-known symptoms. Some of these symptoms may appear before a lump is large enough to detect. Increasing your awareness can help you detect breast cancer in its early stages and have the best chance for effective treatment.

1. Changes In Skin

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Changes in the skin can be a symptom of breast cancer. These changes may appear as a thickening of the skin on the breast or other change in the texture of the skin. Enlargement of the pores may also indicate breast cancer and may make the skin look similar in texture to an orange peel. The skin may also turn red or develop a scaly texture.

2. Changes In Appearance Of The Breast Or Nipple

Breast cancer can cause changes in the appearance of the breast that range from dimpling of the skin to inversion of one or both nipples.

3. Changes In Breast Size

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If one of your breasts becomes swollen or seems to change in size relative to the other breast, consult a health professional. Another change that could be cause for concern is shrinking of a breast. All of these changes are of greater concern if they affect only one breast, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

4. Nipple Discharge

Discharge from the nipple that is clear, brown or tinged with blood may also indicate breast cancer. If you notice a milky colored discharge, the National Breast Cancer Foundation advises consultation with a doctor, although this type of discharge does not normally indicate cancer.

5. Breast Pain

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Although breast pain is not a common symptom of breast cancer, sometimes a cancerous lump in the breast can result in pain. Breast pain that occurs on a sporadic or cyclic basis is less likely to be a breast cancer symptom. If you have breast pain that lasts longer than three weeks, report it to your physician, states WebMD.

6. Lump In The Armpit

A lump or swelling in the armpit can occur for many reasons that don’t necessarily indicate a serious health problem, but breast cancer can also cause this symptom, according to Healthline. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle are also a common cause of lumps in the armpit. Performing self-exams within three days of the end of your period can reduce false alarms related to hormonal changes.


All of these symptoms can have benign causes that don’t indicate cancer or another serious health issue, but the only way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor. Although women often seek medical advice quickly upon detection of a lump, they tend to wait longer to see a doctor to investigate other types of symptoms.

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