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Possible Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

The warning signs of breast cancer include:

  • Lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle
  • A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea
  • A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
  • A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple
  • A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
  • Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
  • An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast
  • A marble-like hardened area under the skin

These changes may be found during a breast self-exam, an option for women starting in their 20s. Because experts don't agree on whether breast self-exams are an effective way to detect potentially dangerous changes, it's best to discuss their benefits and limitations with your health care provider.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on June 26, 2012

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