Breast Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t Lumps

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. In fact, research shows that the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12 percent — that’s a 1 in 8 chance of developing the disease. African American women, in particular, have the highest risk of being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

In 2017, The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates about 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. While around 63,410 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) — a non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer — will be diagnosed. Of those cases, about 40,610 women will die. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 2,470 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

The silver lining? The ACS reports that due to many advances in treatment, “there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.”

We’re all aware that an unusual lump can be a red flag. But, did you know there are other symptoms that can point to breast cancer – such as changes in the skin or nipple?

“Being aware of changes of your breast is the key to identifying signs or symptoms that could be related to breast cancer,” Dr. Nina Watson, a board certified diagnostic radiologist at a top academic hospital in New York City, specializing in breast imaging and breast cancer diagnosis, tells

“This could include changes of the skin, such a dimpling of the skin or the skin becoming very thick and changing color. They could also include changes of the nipple (sticking in, when it used to stick out), fluid coming out of the nipple, particularly if it is bloody, or flaking or thickening of the skin around the nipple. If you notice any of these, it is important to see your doctor right away.”

So, how does one stay one step ahead?