Feeling a lump or mass on the breast is an indictor to go see a doctor, however it is not the only way breast cancer can present itself.
Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer in women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, over 230,000 new cases are expected in 2015.
A lump is the classic warning sign, but lesser known symptoms of breast cancer, include swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple inversion, nipple discharge other than breast milk, and redness, scaling or thickening of the nipple or surrounding skin.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women 40 and older, while guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest mammography every other year starting at age 50.
Unfortunately, even routine screening has limits and people still need to be aware of warning signs. Screening tests can’t be expected to find every single cancer. There is always the possibility of something happening between screens.
Very subtle dimples could easily be missed.
In between screening tests, patients should remain alert to any changes that could indicate cancer.
Women with a family history of breast cancer or others at higher risk may need more frequent screening starting at a young age and should be vigilant of checking for any physical changes.
Researchers do assert that although these can be symptoms of cancer, one or more of these symptoms does is not an automatic diagnosis of cancer. A doctor visit is necessary to determine that cause of the symptoms.