5 Overlooked Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Pink ribbon in hands

Many women (and less commonly, men) are affected by breast cancer each year in the United States. Early detection of breast cancer is vital to increasing your chances of a successful outcome. In order to detect breast cancer early, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms you may experience. While most women are aware of the common symptoms of breast cancer, below are some of the more often overlooked signs. Please see a doctor if you have any of the symptoms listed below in order to properly test for breast cancer.

1. Lumps in the Breast

Although lumps in your breast are a common sign of breast cancer, it’s still unfortunately considered an overlooked symptom. It’s important to include a self-breast examination as a regular part of your health routine. At Southcoast Health, we recommend a self-breast examination once a month just to feel for any irregularities in the breast tissue. One way to perform a self-examination is to wait until you get out of the shower and gently massage the tissue in your breast, feeling for lumps, bumps, or anything that feels out of the ordinary. It’s important to do this regularly so that you can feel when a change occurs in the breast tissue and alert your doctor if there’s anything that needs to be looked into. A lump in the breast is one of the earliest and most common signs of breast cancer, so detecting one early on can help catch breast cancer in its early stages.

2. Discharge from the Nipple

Another overlooked symptom of breast cancer is discharge from the nipple. If you are experiencing discharge, and you’re not breastfeeding, this is abnormal and should be brought up with a doctor. When associated with breast cancer, the discharge will often be bloody – with some women also reporting pain in the nipple area and general discomfort. Nipple discharge may be normal in early pregnancy and when breastfeeding but be sure to ask your doctor to confirm that everything is healthy.

3. Change in Nipple Color

There are several reasons your nipples or areolas change color. Common reasons for color change include general aging and/or pregnancy. However, one of the more overlooked reasons for changes in nipple color is associated with the presence of breast cancer. It’s especially abnormal if it’s occurring in only one nipple and not evenly on both breasts. It’s also particularly unusual for nipple color to change outside of pregnancy. If you experience one nipple or areola appearing different in color from the other, consult your doctor for further analysis.

4. Redness and/or Change of Texture in the Breast

Do your breasts suddenly look slightly red or have an uneven texture? That, unfortunately, is an often-overlooked sign of breast cancer. The redness will appear like a rash and may also accompany an orange peel-like texture on the breast as well. If you are experiencing a sudden change in texture or redness in your breast that is not associated with a known cause, then be sure to immediately bring this to your doctor’s attention. Remember, early detection is key in recovering from breast cancer so don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns with a healthcare professional immediately.

5. Dimpling and Scaling

If you experience new dimpling or scaling on your breast or nipple, this is another common yet overlooked sign of breast cancer. Both of these symptoms point to an irregularity on the breast which is vital not to overlook.

Get a Breast Exam Today at Southcoast Health

At Southcoast Health, we offer exceptional care for those experiencing symptoms of breast cancer. Not only can we help detect breast cancer early, but we pride ourselves on listening to your concerns and addressing them to ensure your overall health. Schedule an appointment for a mammogram with one of our breast specialists or contact us today for more information.