8 Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

Due to the use of regular mammography screening, most breast cancers in the U.S. are found at an early stage, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancers are found through mammography.

The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common symptoms are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge. The eight warning signs of breast cancer are:

  • 8 Signs of Breast CancerLump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

If you have any of the symptoms described above, see a health care provider [5-7]. If you do not have a provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend. If that is not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital.

Learn more about finding a health care provider.

In most cases, these changes are not cancer. For example, breast pain is more common with benign (not cancer) breast conditions than with breast cancer. However, the only way to know for sure is to see a provider. If you have breast cancer, it is best to find it at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.