Symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- a lump or thickening in the breast or under the arm
- a clear or bloody discharge from the nipple
- crusting or scaling of the nipple
- inverted nipples
- redness or swelling of the breast
- dimpling on the breast skin resembling the texture of an orange
- change in the size or shape of the breast
- a sore or ulcer on the skin of the breast that does not heal
- invasive ductal carcinoma - This type of breast cancer develops in the milk ducts and accounts for about 75% of cases. It can break through the duct wall and invade the fatty tissue of the breast, then spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
- invasive lobular carcinoma - This type of breast cancer originates in the breast's milk-producing lobules. It can spread to the breast's fatty tissue and other places in the body.
- medullary, mucinous and tubular carcinomas - These slow-growing types of breast cancer represent a small number of all breast cancers.
- paget's disease - This type represents about 1% of breast cancers. It starts in the milk ducts of the nipple and can spread to the dark circle around the nipple.
- inflammatory carcinoma - Of all breast cancers, inflammatory carcinoma is the most aggressive and difficult to treat, because it spreads so quickly. It is a rare form of cancer.
As more women have regular mammograms, doctors are detecting many more noninvasive or precancerous conditions before they become full-blown cancer. These conditions include:
- ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - This occurs when cancer cells fill the ducts but haven't spread through the walls into fatty tissue.
- lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) - This is less of a threat than DCIS. It develops in the breast's milk-producing lobules.