Breast cancer symptoms
Not everyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer has symptoms. Breast changes may not mean cancer, but see a doctor if you have:
- a lump, lumpiness or thickening, especially in just one breast
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or swelling
- a change to the nipple – change in shape, crusting, sores or ulcers, redness, pain, a clear or bloody discharge, or a nipple that turns in (inverted) when it used to stick out
- a change in the skin – dimpling or indentation, a rash or itchiness, a scaly appearance, unusual redness or other colour changes
- swelling or discomfort in the armpit or near the collarbone
- ongoing, unusual pain not related to your monthly menstrual cycle, that remains after your period and is in one breast only.
Most breast changes aren’t caused by cancer. If you have symptoms, see your doctor without delay.
For an overview of what to expect during all stages of your cancer care, visit Cancer Care Guides – Breast Cancer. This is a short guide to what is recommended, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
Podcast for people affected by cancer
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and The University of Sydney, NSW; Collette Butler, Clinical Nurse Consultant and McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Cancer Support Centre, Launceston, TAS; Tania Cercone, Consumer; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, SA; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Dr Hilda High, Genetic Oncologist, Sydney Cancer Genetics, NSW; Prof David W Kissane AC, Chair of Palliative Medicine Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Prof Sherene Loi, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr W Kevin Patterson, Medical Oncologist, Adelaide Oncology and Haematology, SA; Angela Thomas, Consumer; Iwa Yeung, Physiotherapist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
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