Early detection of breast cancer gives you a better chance of successful treatment. Self-exams, while important, cannot replace regular mammograms and other screening tests. However, it is important for you to be aware of changes in your breasts and to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass. The mass may be hard and painless, but breast cancers can also be tender, soft, or rounded. It is important to have any new mass, lump, or breast change checked by a healthcare professional.

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone