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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Life saver

Wojciech 01/03/2018

Great to read information that can save you're life wife was diagnosed with breast cancer some years ago had to have one breast off but it's given her many extra years of life. Doing the checks catching it early is the key to having a good life. Cancer diagnosis doesn't mean wife now as terminal cancer in the womb area but so pleased she had loads of extra years to see her grandkids grow up.


Wendy 26/01/2018

I've not been asked to go for a mammogram yet and I'm 52 this I ask my go to refer me.thamkyou Wendy

Medical negligence

V 24/12/2017

So so many times I went to the surgery with back pain and extreme fatigue. And the only they prescribed was pain killers and only basic blood tests. They never did further investigation. Only when I referred myself to hospital and I was admitted and there in hospital they did further investigation and they found stage 4(had already spread to the bones) I went so so many times to the GP don't I have a very good reason to sue the surgery? Is a fact that hormone sensitive breast cancer grows slow


Carol 08/12/2017

Never ignored itching under the skin, I discovered this on my second lot of breast cancer (13 years apart from the 1st lot on the same area). It probably saved my life as I caught it quickly


George 05/12/2017

I noticed this and clicked on it as my wife has secondary Breast Cancer. Now we went in to discuss reconstruction as she had a mastectomy on one breast. We decided that she would not go ahead with it. The point of this the fact that if she had gone for reconstruction we would never have found the small lump that appeared after 15 years. Her oncologist also agreed that it would have very likely been to late if had not found it due to reconstruction. Something to think hard about.

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