Five surprising breast cancer symptoms to never ignore

Five surprising breast cancer symptoms to never ignore

When checking your breasts for signs of cancer, it can be easy to miss some of these unlikely symptoms…

When checking your breasts for signs of cancer, it can be easy to miss some of these unlikely symptoms...

Chances are, you know somebody who has been directly affected by breast cancer and, if you do, you’ll know that early detection is key.

More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive the disease – so here we’re sharing five warning signs that might not seem ‘obvious’ to you but still need to be given attention.

If you do recognise any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to get things checked out.

1. Nipple retraction

While most of us know to look out for any new lumps or bumps, nipple retraction – where the nipple appears to turn inwards – is a key sign many women aren’t aware of.

2. A lump in the armpit, not the breast

It’s worth knowing that swelling in or around your armpit or collarbone can also be a sign of breast cancer, as it’s not just the breasts themselves where lumps are found.

This can be a sign the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in those areas, and sometimes it can even be spotted before you feel a lump in the breast.

Lumps in the armpit can be caused by other things too, such as infections or allergies, but it’s worth seeking medical help as soon as you notice a lump to rule out anything untoward.

3. A rash

It’s easy to brush away niggling symptoms like rashes, but for some women it’s not always an allergy, or a change in washing powder that’s causing it.

A rash across one or both breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, so if you’re even the slightest bit concerned, it’s always worth getting it checked out to put your mind at rest.

4. Eczema

It’s not common, but Paget’s disease of the breast (different to Paget’s disease of the bone, where bones become weak and deformed) is a rare skin condition that is sometimes a sign of underlying breast cancer.

It looks very similar to eczema – a red, scaly rash covering the breast – and is often itchy, too. It always starts in the nipple, and sometimes extends to the areola.

5. Thickening of the nipple

The key to detecting breast cancer early is getting to know your breasts – and what’s normal for them. While every woman is different, checking your breasts regularly means you’ll spot any changes quickly, and feel more confident visiting a doctor when something’s amiss.

Remember their appearance and feel can change at different times of your cycle, and again once you’ve gone through the menopause, but if your nipple feels thicker than normal, or the texture has changed in some way, then it’s worth investigating. Any changes in the skin at all in that area – from puckering and dimpling to thickening and itching – should never be ignored.

Were you surprised by any of these potential symptoms? Do share your experience and thoughts with us below.

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