What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Many breast cancers are discovered through routine breast screening exams such as mammograms, even when a woman has no other signs of disease. However, on your own, you may notice symptoms that could be suspicious. See your doctor right away if you have any of these conditions:
- A lump or thickness in or near the breast or under the arm
- Unexplained swelling or shrinkage of the breast, particularly on one side only
dimpling or puckering of the breast
- Nipple discharge (fluid) other than breast milk that occurs without squeezing the nipple
breast skin changes, such as redness, flaking, thickening, or pitting that looks like the skin of an orange
- A nipple that becomes sunken (inverted), red, thick, or scaly
Am I at risk for getting breast cancer?
Your risk for breast cancer rises as you get older. About 80 percent of breast cancers are found in women over age 50 — many of whom have no other known risk factors for the disease.
Although you’re two to three times more likely to get breast cancer if you have a strong family history of the disease, only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are inherited, meaning that they are linked to gene mutations passed down in families, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.