While they may be your first thought when it comes to breast cancer symptoms, lumps aren't the only sign that something may be wrong.

August 08, 2017

We all know that an unusual lump can be a red flag when it comes to breast cancer, but did you know there are other breast cancer symptoms you’re probably less familiar with, like changes in the skin or nipple? Knowing what to look for can make all the difference in getting diagnosed early, especially since about one in every six women with breast cancer sees her doctor with a symptom other than a lump. In this video, we’re highlighting the key signs and symptoms of breast cancer that aren’t lumps.

Any sudden changes in the breast can signal something is up, including new developments in its size or shape. Unusual breast or nipple pain can also warrant a checkup, as does a nipple that suddenly starts to turn inward.

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Lots of women don’t realize that the skin on the breast can offer important health information, too. If the skin gets red, scaly, thick, pitted, ridged, or bumpy, ask your physician to take a look at your chest. The same goes for any nipple discharge (other than breast milk) and swelling, warmth, or tenderness. Swollen lymph nodes under the arm should also be examined.

Of course, these symptoms don’t always signal breast cancer. In fact, they may simply have to do with where you are in your menstrual cycle. Still, any changes to the breast are worth asking an expert about. If you notice anything unusual—whether it has to do with breast size, nipple appearance, texture, or sensitivity—talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

The good news? Many breast cancer cases can’t be seen or felt, but when they’re caught early, they’re highly treatable.