Breast Cancer: What Are the Symptoms? | Keck Medicine of USC

Breast Cancer: What Are the Symptoms?

Instead of worrying, educate yourself about the symptoms of breast cancer so that you know what to look for and how to proceed.

Women may wonder whether they have symptoms of breast cancer — especially if they have a family member who has been diagnosed with it. And although men may not think about developing breast cancer, they are also at risk. But speculation only leads to worry. Following are symptoms that can indicate breast cancer.

A new lump in the breast

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass. It can be painless, hard and have uneven edges, or it can be tender, round and soft. The key is getting checked by a doctor if you feel anything unusual on or around your breasts.

Nipple discharge

Nipple discharge that contains blood is a potential sign of breast cancer.

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(800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273)

Unusual swelling

If there is no reason for your breast to swell, such as infection from breastfeeding or an injury, get checked.

Nipple retraction

Do you notice your nipple turning inward and staying that way, when it normally does not? Make an appointment with your doctor to determine if there’s an issue.

Redness or peeling and flaking of the skin on your breast or nipple

Any change in the condition of your skin or breast could indicate an abnormality underneath.

Finally, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think something’s not right, make an appointment and get yourself screened.

“The most important piece of advice for women is to get your screening mammograms,” says Maria Nelson, MD, a breast surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

by Heidi Tyline King

Do you need a breast cancer screening? Our breast cancer experts can help. If you are in the Los Angeles area, request an appointment or call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273).