The Most Surprising Signs You Have Breast Cancer


A major part of what makes cancer so scary is that, for many people, it seemingly appears out of nowhere. And it’s not uncommon for people to go from being in great health to death’s door once they are diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer doesn’t have to be a surprise, though. If you know the signs and symptoms of things like breast cancer, then you’ll know exactly what to look for. And the earlier you get an official breast cancer diagnosis, the better your odds of fighting it.

What, then, are signs you may have breast cancer? Keep reading to discover the most shocking symptoms!

Don’t just look for a lump!

Closeup cropped portrait young woman with breast pain touching chest colored isolated on blue background

Before we dive into the more surprising signs of breast cancer, we need to address the elephant in the room. Or, in this case, the lump in the room.

Women are taught from a young age to monitor their breasts for lumps. Such a lump is usually the earliest warning sign that you are dealing with breast cancer.

It’s important to still monitor for lumps. However, it’s equally important to remember that these lumps are not the only signs you are suffering from cancer. And just as you need to keep looking for lumps, you need to be on the lookout for any and all of the following symptoms.

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Nipple discharge

Don’t freak out! If you’re currently pregnant or have recently had a baby, then it’s perfectly normal for your breasts to discharge milk from time to time. However, if you are not currently pregnant or have recently been pregnant, you need to treat any discharges as serious warning signs.

What kind of discharge should you be on the lookout for? While any kind of discharge merits a trip to the doctor’s office, you need to definitely keep an eye out for clear discharges and bloody discharges. When such discharges happen, they are usually a sign of breast cancer.

Itchy or irritated breasts

As we noted before, the first step in monitoring for breast cancer involves inspecting your breasts for lumps. You may not find any lumps, but it’s important to monitor your breast for other recent changes.

For example, do your breasts feel warmer to the touch than usual? Do they feel irritated or itchy when you touch them? And when you visually examine your breasts, do they appear to be red?

Unfortunately, all of these are symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer. And this serves as a simple reminder that you know your body better than anyone. If anything seems “off,” don’t hesitate to call your doctor!

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Scaly skin

Anthony Ricci/Shutterstock

One reason why checking for a lump is so important is that you can almost immediately tell that your breast feels different. Even when you don’t have a lump, though, it’s important to feel for other textural changes. And this includes your skin feeling scalier than it did before.

Your breasts are supposed to feel smooth to the touch, and this doesn’t change much even as you get older. If your breasts suddenly feel “scaly” to the touch, then you may have breast cancer. The same is true if your breasts feel unexpectedly inflamed to the touch. 

Inverted or flat nipples

By now, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. When you are inspecting your body for anything unusual, you need to be on the lookout for changes to any part of your breasts. And that includes your nipples.

As an example, you need to be on the lookout for nipples that appear inverted or flat. Now, if your nipples have always been this way, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if this represents a major change to your body, it’s important to go to your doctor for further recommendations.

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Breast size and shape changes

Speaking of sudden changes, it’s important that you keep an eye on your breast size and shape. Any changes in size and shape may be breast cancer warning signs in their own right.

It’s not a big deal if you were born with one breast of a slightly different size or shape than the other. But if you were not born that way and your breasts now appear a bit different, this may be a sign of cancer. In some cases, one breast may swell up more than the other. And in other cases, one breast may unexpectedly shrivel. Either way, you need to get to a doctor immediately. 

Other skin texture changes

Earlier, we touched on the importance of monitoring for “scaly” skin. While you’re at it, you should also look out for other changes to your skin texture.

For example, a sudden rash on your breast could be a sign of cancer. The same goes for dimples and puckering skin. In more extreme cases, the surface of your breast may look a bit like the surface of an orange! As usual, we recommend visiting your doctor if you have experienced any of these signs or you simply want some peace of mind.

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