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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Breast CancerSymptoms

Early Breast cancer usually does not cause pain. In fact, when breast cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that women should watch for:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • A discharge from the nipple.
  • A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, or scaly).
  • What appears to be a rash, mosquito bite or bruise that doesn't dissipate in a week. If this symptom occurs, insist on a skin biopsy!

A woman should see her doctor if she notices any of these changes. Most often, they are not cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure.


An abnormal area on a mammogram, a lump, or other changes in the breast can be caused by cancer or by other, less serious problems. To find out the cause of any of these signs or symptoms, a woman's doctor does a careful physical exam and asks about her personal and family medical history. In addition to checking general signs of health, the doctor may do one or more of the breast exams described below.

  • Palpation. The doctor can tell a lot about a lump its size, its texture, and whether it moves easily by palpation, carefully feeling the lump and the tissue around it. Benign lumps often feel different from cancerous ones.
  • Mammography. X-rays of the breast can give the doctor important information about a breast lump. If an area on the mammogram looks suspicious or is not clear, additional x-rays may be needed.
  • Ultrasonography. Using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasonography can often show whether a lump is solid or filled with fluid. This exam may be used along with mammography. IBC does not usually present itself with a lump, therefore, mammograms or ultrasounds to not usually detect this type of breast cancer.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer is treated differently than most cases of breast cancer. Chemo first - then surgery if necessary. The majority of women complained of consisent pain in one of their breasts. IBC is often misdiagnosed as mastitis which is a benign breast infection.

Based on these exams, the doctor may decide that no further tests are needed and no treatment is necessary. In such cases, the doctor may need to check the woman regularly to watch for any changes. Often, however, the doctor must remove fluid or tissue from the breast to make a diagnosis.

Aspiration or needle biopsy. The doctor uses a needle to remove fluid or a small amount of tissue from a breast lump. This procedure may show whether a lump is a fluid-filled cyst (not cancer) or a solid mass (which may or may not be cancer). Using special techniques, tissue can be removed with a needle from an area that is suspicious on a mammogram but cannot be felt.

If tissue is removed in a needle biopsy, it goes to a lab to be checked for cancer cells. Clear fluid removed from a cyst may not need to be checked by a lab.

Surgical biopsy. The surgeon cuts out part or all of a lump or suspicious area. A pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

When a woman needs a biopsy, these are some questions she may want to ask her doctor:

  • What type of biopsy will I have? Why?
  • How long will the biopsy or aspiration take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?
  • How soon will I know the results?
  • If I do have cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?

When Cancer Is Found

When cancer is present, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is (whether it began in a duct or a lobule) and whether it is invasive (has invaded nearby tissues in the breast).

Special laboratory tests of the tissue help the doctor learn more about the cancer. For example, hormone receptor tests (estrogen and progesterone receptor tests) can help predict whether the cancer is sensitive to hormones. Positive test results mean hormones help the cancer grow and the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal therapy. Other lab tests are sometimes done to help the doctor predict whether the cancer is likely to grow slowly or quickly.

If the diagnosis is cancer, the patient may want to ask these questions:

  • What kind of breast cancer do I have? It is invasive?
  • What did the hormone receptor test show? What other lab tests were done on the tumor tissue, and what did they show?
  • How will this information help the doctor decide what type of treatment or further tests to recommend?

The patient's doctor may refer her to doctors who specialize in treating cancer, or she may ask for a referral. Treatment generally begins within a few weeks after the diagnosis. There will be time for the woman to talk with the doctor about her treatment choices, to get a second opinion, and to prepare herself and her loved ones.

Additional Comments from WikiAnswers Contributors:There must lots of excellent breast cancer sites on the internet. However breast cancer can be detected by noticing a lump in one breast, or unusual discharge from the nipple or an alteration in texture. It is a good idea for women to examine their breasts once a month after their period has finished. Quite often in younger women breast lumps are benign but it is always worth getting a medical opinion because if it is cancer the earlier it is treated the better the outcome. Don't just examine your breast, LOOK for the changes!

It's often symptomless but the most common presenting symptoms are a breast lump (discrete, not varying with a period cycle, usually irregular, hard and not too mobile), bloody nipple discharge, 'nipple eczema', puckering of the skin of the breast.

Changes to look out for

You should see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a lump, or thickened area of tissue, in either breast,
  • discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood),
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits,a change in the size, or shape, of one, or both, of your breasts,
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts,
  • a rash on, or around, your nipple,a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast, or
  • pain in either of your breasts or armpits which is not related to your period.

what are the symptoms of breast cancer

there are really no signs of breast cancer but lumps in breasts any questions email me at
Lumps in the breast . These should ALWAYS be checked by a doctor

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โˆ™ 2016-02-14 02:16:13
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โˆ™ 2012-01-17 20:38:41

The most telltale sign of breast cancer is an unusual breast lump. Other signs include changes in breast lumps, bloody discharge from nipples, skin changes on a breast, and sudden turning inward of a nipple. Some methods of testing for breast cancer are biopsies, MRIs, and mammograms.

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โˆ™ 2013-05-29 19:15:57

In order to get a job that requires MCSE certification you must take their course and pass a MCSE exam. The website is here:|1028225|mcsa%20certificatesS|b|18342258895&gclid=CMHLwbXb47QCFcsWMgodUBwAkA

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โˆ™ 2014-05-14 22:04:43

You should watch for any unusual moles or marks in your breast, also bleeding from the nipples. Breast pain can also be a sign, but it doesn't have to be. Your hard lump could also be fluid (my mother had it, as well as my best friend who just has turned 40), which they either drain or let it disappear slowly. Please visit your doctor and you are in my thoughts.

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โˆ™ 2012-07-30 00:01:03

There are many symptoms of breast cancer. You are going to feel tired and fatigue very easily, always weak, and you may notice loss such as hair loss or weight loss.

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