Cancer and Lifestyle

9 Early Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. There are many signs and symptoms of breast cancer. You may not have noticed some of these signs or symptoms. It’s important to be aware of them so you can take action if needed.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer awareness month observed every October informs people about the importance of early diagnosis and timely treatment of breast cancer. According to WHO, breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. Breast cancer cases are on a rise with years. During breast cancer awareness month, there are multiple activities organised worldwide to create awareness about breast cancer. Most women are not aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Lack of information makes the situation worse and life-threatening. Better knowledge about the symptoms can help inpre controlling cancer on time and the patient can get timely treatment.

9 Early Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

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Every woman must know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to get treatment on time. Here are the 9 symptoms of breast cancer.

Total Time: 20 minutes

  1. Lump

    A lump is the most common symptom of breast cancer, which most people know. A lump in the breast or underarm that does not go away in some days can be the first and the most visible sign of breast cancer. The lump can be painless and may not cause any discomfort.

  2. Change in skin pattern

    There is a change in skin pattern which can be noticed in breast cancer. Change in skin cells and inflammation can lead to this sign. One may notice scaly skin around the nipples. This skin may look like as if it is sunburned. Some may also experience irritation and itching.

  3. Nipple discharge

    Nipple discharge can happen due to breast cancer. It can be in different colours like yellow, red or green. Nipple discharge can happen because of many reasons, but breast cancer can also be one of them. If you notice any unusual discharge, you should not ignore it and get it checked on time.

  4. Change in the shape of the nipple

    One can notice changes in the nipple’s appearance because of cell change. It can be inverted or reverse inwards. There can be a change in its size as well. It can also cause itching. One must see the doctor if there are any such changes taking place.

  5. Change in breast appearance, texture, and temperature

    Breast cancer can cause asymmetrical changes in breast size, either suddenly or gradually.

  6. Swelling around the breast,

    Breast swelling can also be a symptom of breast cancer.

  7. Redness around the breast

    Redness on the breast is most often caused by a breast infection, but if it does not improve after treatment with antibiotics, it may be a rare sign of breast cancer.

  8. Pain in breast

    Most breast cancers do not cause pain. However, inflammatory breast cancer and some tumours can lead to breast discomfort.

  9. Unintentional weight loss and vaginal pain in later stages

    Pain in the pelvis, feeling a mass (tumour), and losing weight without trying can also be symptoms of endometrial cancer. These symptoms are more common in the later stages of the disease.


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Anyone with any of these symptoms should not ignore these symptoms and consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Blood Test for Breast Cancer

Your doctor may advise blood tests for cancer/tumour markers to detect cancer activity in the body, not only breast cancer test. Proteins and circulating tumour cells are two types of markers that can be measured. A cancer tumour often produces a specific protein in the blood that serves as a marker for cancer. Circulating tumour cells are cells that break off from cancer and move into the bloodstream. Protein markers and circulating tumour cells can be measured with simple blood tests.

Blood marker tests may be done before treatment, to help diagnose breast cancer and determine whether it’s moved to other parts of the body; during treatment, to assess whether the cancer is responding; and after treatment, to see if cancer has come back (recurrence).

  • CA 15.3: used to find the breast and ovarian cancers
  • TRU-QUANT and CA 27.29: may mean that breast cancer is present
  • CA125: may signal ovarian cancer, ovarian cancer recurrence, and breast cancer recurrence
  • CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen): a marker for colon, lung, and liver cancers. This marker may determine if breast cancer has travelled to other areas of the body.

While breast cancer blood marker tests are promising, they’re not absolutely conclusive. When a breast cancer blood marker test comes back negative, it doesn’t mean you’re free of breast cancer. And a positive result doesn’t always mean that the cancer is growing. These tests may help with diagnosis, but using cancer marker tests to find metastatic breast cancer hasn’t helped improve survival yet.

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You should also learn about: How to prevent obesity?

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