Breast cancer symptomsPatient Information Leaflet
Breast cancers produce few warning signs and hardly ever cause pain. There may sometimes be a vague discomfort, but commonly when it comes to breast cancer symptoms, the first thing people notice is an abnormal lump in their breast.
Nevertheless, there are other possible signs. These are some of the breast cancer symptoms you need to look out for:
- A new lump in the breast or armpit
- A change in the outline, shape or size of the breast
- Skin dimpling that changes the appearance of the surface of the breast
- In-drawing of the nipple, or alteration in its position
- Discharge or bleeding from the nipple for no apparent reason
- A rash or moist, red area on or around the nipple
- Breast pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away
Go to your GP if you notice anything unusual or you are worried.
Being breast aware
Being breast aware means getting to know your breasts; how they look and what they normally feel like; and knowing what breast cancer symptoms to look out for.
Everyone should know the ‘breast aware’ 5 point plan and look for the warning signs. It is important that men, too, are ‘chest aware’ and check themselves regularly.
Remember the ‘breast aware’ 5 point plan
- Know what’s normal for you
- Look at your breasts and feel them
- Know what changes to look for
- Report any changes without delay
- Attend routine screening if you’re 50 or over
As part of our Bin Your Bra appeal, Dr Hilary demonstrated how (and when best) to perform a self examination and reiterated the need to follow the 5 point plan;Watch Video
Worried you have found a lump?
If you have found a lump in your breast or notice any other breast cancer symptoms, you should make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.
They will then refer you to a breast cancer unit if they are concerned that you might have breast cancer. However more often than not, your symptoms will not have been caused by cancer.
For more information on what to expect from the moment you find a lump and during your first referral appointment, take a look at our breast cancer information leaflet.Download our breast cancer information leaflet
The following organisations can also offer advice and practical support for people concerned about or living with breast cancer;
NHS Choices – Information from the National Health Service on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living
The Breast Cancer Haven is a UK charity supporting the physical and emotional needs of anyone affected by breast cancer
Breast Cancer Now – Patient support and helpline
Macmillan offer information, practical help and support for people living with cancer
Maggie’s offer support and help for people living with cancer. Maggie’s centres are located nationally alongside NHS hospitals or online
(Reviewed October 2020)