Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

The following are the most common symptoms of breast cancer; however, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain and may cause no symptoms at all, while some breast cancers never cause symptoms or other indications of a problem.

As the cancer grows, however, it can cause changes that women and men should watch for, such as:

  • A lump or thickening (a mass, swelling, skin irritation or distortion) in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola or nipple (dimpled, puckered or scaly).
  • Nipple discharge, erosion, inversion or tenderness.

A woman (or man) should consult a physician when any of these changes are noticed.