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NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

The main symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump or thickened area of tissue in your breast. Most breast lumps are found by the women who have them and it is very important to be aware of any lumps or changes in the appearance, feel or shape of your breasts. The sooner a cancerous lump is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

Changes to look out for

See your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a lump or thickened area of tissue in either breast,
  • discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood),
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits,
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both of your breasts,
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts,
  • a rash on or around your nipple,
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast, or
  • pain in either of your breasts or armpits which is not related to your period.

A lump in your breast may not be the result of breast cancer. The majority (90%) of breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). A breast lump may be caused by a harmless cyst (a small fluid-filled lump) or fibroadenoma (benign growths that are very common). Your breasts may also feel lumpy just before your period.

However, if you notice any changes to one or both of your breasts as listed above, get them checked by your GP.

Breast awareness

Be aware of how your breasts look and feel and report any lumps to your GP as soon as possible.

If you get to know the way your breasts normally look and feel, it will make it easier to spot any changes.

Check your breasts in the shower or bath or before dressing. Do this after your monthly period because your breasts can feel lumpy before your period is due.

view information about Cancer of the breast female on www.nhs.co.uk »

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The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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