Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • a lump in the breast
  • a change in the size or shape of the breast
  • dimpling of the skin or thickening in the breast tissue
  • a nipple that’s turned in (inverted)
  • a rash (like eczema) on the nipple
  • discharge from the nipple
  • swelling or a lump in the armpit.

A lump in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous. They are usually fluid-filled lumps (cysts) or a fibroadenoma, which is made up of fibrous and glandular tissue. But it is important to get a lump or any of these symptoms checked by your GP straight away.

If a lump or other symptoms is caused by breast cancer, the earlier you have treatment the more successful it is likely to be.

Back to Understanding breast cancer

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

Cancer and cell types

Cancers are grouped into types. Types of cancer often behave and respond to treatments in different ways.

How it is treated

There are five main types of cancer treatment. You may receive one, or a combination of treatments, depending on your cancer type.

The breasts

Breasts are made of fat, supportive (connective tissue) and glandular tissue that contains lobes (milk glands).

Why do cancers come back?

Sometimes, tiny cancer cells are left behind after cancer treatment. These can divide to form a new tumour.