If detected early, breast cancer patients stand a good chance of survival, so it’s important to be aware of common signs and symptoms. Here are some early signs of breast cancer which you can look out for.

Unusual lumps are the most well-known signs of breast cancer, and it’s true that lumps can be an early sign, especially if they are new and feel thicker, harder or otherwise different to the rest of the breast tissue. Of course, not all lumps are necessarily harmful. Lumps can also be harmless cysts or even benign tumours.  It’s also important to remember that there are other signs of breast cancer to look out for. These could include:

  •  change in size or shape of the breast
  •  Breast or armpit pain that doesn’t go away after your next period and which is there all the time, rather than coming and going.
  • nipple discharge without squeezing. This discharge could be clear, red, brown, or yellow
  • unexplained redness, rashes, swelling or itchiness around the breast
  • unexplained swelling or a lump around the collarbone or under the arm
  • a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling around the breast. Often referred to as ‘orange peel skin’ because of the textured appearance, this can sometimes be indicative of later stage breast cancer

There are also other symptoms which can sometimes seem unrelated to breast cancer, such as weight loss, irregular urination, back pain or fatigue. Again, having these symptoms doesn’t mean that you have breast cancer but if you notice any changes in your breasts at all, especially when paired with other symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. They may be harmless changes or symptoms of something other than cancer, but when it comes to signs of breast cancer, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Disclaimer: None of the advice above is intended to replace medical advice, and a doctor should always be consulted if you are concerned about breast cancer.