You’ve heard that you’re supposed to conduct a self-exam every month away from the time of your period. You’ve heard to look out for lumps. Yet, have you heard about some other breast cancer signs that aren’t so typical and common?
For example, one woman in her mid-thirties found that several freckles had showed up on her breasts after spending time in the sun. She was later diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, according to the publication Today. Clearly, breast cancer signs can come in many forms.
Below we will outline the top four uncommon breast cancer signs you need to watch out for during a monthly self-exam and when showering. Keep reading to learn more!
Redness and dimpling of your skin
One sign that could indicate inflammatory breast cancer is a general dimpling or puckering of your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Breast cancer signs also include some redness or very pink skin. It may even look like a rash, so don’t take any rashes on your breast lightly. Get it checked out by your doctor.
“If a woman lifts her arm and looks in the mirror, there can be a puckering of the skin,” Holly Pederson, MD, director of medical breast services at the Cleveland Clinic, told WebMD. “If you lift your arms overhead and have a puckering anywhere [on the breasts] it should be checked out. When the tumor grows, it disrupts the architecture [of the skin] and can cause a puckering of the ligaments inside. Puckering looks like kind of an indentation that comes back to normal as you put your arms back down.”
You may also see some changes to your nipples if you have breast cancer. Your nipples may start leaking or turning inward. Inverted nipples are also common breast cancer signs.
“Another less common sign is nipple discharge that comes out on its own,” Pederson continued. “Nipple discharge is a relatively common complaint. If it occurs only with squeezing of the nipple and is on both sides and is white or greenish or even brownish, it is usually not a sign of breast cancer.”
“But when it comes out on its own, from one nipple, and is bloody or clear, it might be a sign of breast cancer.”
You may see your nipples change color or start flaking. Your nipples may look more red or even become somewhat purple. Sometimes cancer may originate in the nipples so if you see any flaking right in the nipple area and not the areola, you will need to speak to a doctor.
If you experience any changes to your nipples such as discharge, go to your doctor to get it checked out. It may not be breast cancer but an infection. Regardless, your health is important and you need to get the treatment necessary to be healthy.
Another key signal of breast cancer uncommon to most women is pain. If you feel constant and ongoing pain in your breast, talk to your doctor. About 10 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have stated pain as one of their symptoms.
“Breast pain, particularly when a woman is older, over 50, can be the only sign of a breast cancer,” Pederson said. “In a postmenopausal woman, pain is less common and pain in one spot should definitely be evaluated. The pain is from the growth of the cancer.”
If you have pain in your breast that lasts and is found in only one particular area, have your doctor check it out.
Red spot on your breast
Sometimes you may see a red spot on your breast that isn’t going away. This could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. This should be checked by your doctor as soon as possible.
While inflammatory breast cancer is rare, breasts that become swollen, red, and inflamed need to be looked at immediately. This is a rather aggressive form of cancer so don’t wait. However, this may also be a sign of a breast infection.
Be sure to keep track of these four other uncommon breast cancer signs during your monthly self-exams. It may save your life! After all, early diagnosis boosts the likelihood of survival.