What does breast cancer feel like?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among American women; one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime, with an estimated 40,920 women dying from the disease in 2018.
Symptoms and Early Signs
Breast cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages, with most cases presenting with a new mass or lump, as well as a variety of other symptoms such as changes in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast or nipple.
What do breast lumps feel like?
A breast lump can be painful, hard, and immobile, or soft, painless, and easily moveable; lumps that do not cause pain are more likely to be cancerous, and most early breast cancers are detected on screening mammograms before a lump can be felt.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation encourages people to do a monthly self-exam at home, feeling for lumps, thickenings, or pain. Knowing the normal size, shape, appearance, and feel of the breasts can also be helpful.
Other conditions that cause breast lumps
Benign breast lump conditions include fibroadenomas, fibrocystic breast disease, ductal or lobular hyperplasiacysts, abscesses, or infection. While some can be painful and cause breast changes, they are not considered life-threatening.
Causes and risk factors
Breast cancer is a cancer of the milk-producing cells that affects about 85% of women who have no family history of the disease. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, with the greatest increase occurring between the ages of 30 and 50.
Breast cancer in men
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common in white men than in white women in the United States, and about 70 times less common in black men.
Does breast cancer lump feel hard?
Breast cancer usually appears as a hard or firm lump ( nodule ), with irregular edges and the sensation of being attached (fixed) to skin or tissue deep inside the breast, preventing it from being moved without moving breast tissue.
What does cancerous lump in breast feel like?
Breast cancer tumors are more rigid than cysts, with firm, angular edges that make them feel more like rocks than grapes.
What does a cancerous lump feel like?
Cancerous lumps are usually hard, painless, and immovable, whereas cysts or fatty lumps are usually slightly softer to touch and move around. This is based on personal experience: I discovered a rubbery, painless moveable lump in my neck that was not cancer.
Does a breast cancer lump feel like a pea?
Harmless breast lumps can be solid and unmovable, like a dried bean; or movable, soft, and fluid-filled, like a grape, which you can roll between your fingers like a grape. A lump can be pea-size, smaller than a pea, or even several inches across, though this larger size is rare.
Where are most breast cancer lumps located?
Breast cancer can occur anywhere in the breast, but it is most common in the upper, outer section, where it can be found near the surface or deeper inside the breast, close to the chest wall, or in the armpit area, where there is more breast tissue (a.k.a. the “tail” of the breast).
How can you tell the difference between a cyst and breast cancer?
Breast lumps are common and are signs of changes in breast tissue; however, most breast lumps are not cancerous. Breast lumps (all breast lumps should be evaluated by a doctor), nipple discharge, and changes in the skin overlying the breast are all symptoms of breast cancer and breast cysts that are similar.
What is usually the first sign of breast cancer?
Swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone. Swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone is often the first symptom of breast cancer. Your doctor can usually see a lump on a mammogram long before you can see or feel it.
Where are breast cysts usually located?
Cysts are fluid-filled, round or oval sacs in the breasts that are often felt as a round, movable lump that may also be tender to the touch. They are most commonly found in women in their 40s, but they can happen at any age.
When should I be concerned about a lump in my breast?
Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) or that feel different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) or that feel different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) should be checked because they could be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition (like a cyst or fibroadenoma).
How do you tell if a lump is a tumor?
However, the only way to know for sure whether a cyst or tumor is cancerous is to have it biopsied by your doctor, which involves surgically removing part or all of the lump and examining the tissue under a microscope for cancer cells.
How quickly does a breast cancer lump grow?
A breast lump that you or your doctor can feel while examining your breasts is the most common symptom of a phyllodes tumor. Phyllodes tumors grow quickly, to a size of 2-3 cm or larger, in weeks or months.
How long can you have breast cancer without knowing?
Breast cancer must divide 30 times before it can be felt, and neither you nor your doctor can detect it until the 28th cell division. Because most breast cancers take one to two months to divide, by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has already been in your body for two to five years.
How can a woman tell if she has breast cancer?
Irritation or dimpling of breast skin. Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast. New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit). Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
Do breast cancer lumps move around when touched?
On examination, most breast cancer lumps will be movable within the breast tissue, but breast lumps do not typically u201cmove u201d around the breast.