According to recent studies, increasing prosperity and "Westernisation" of our traditional lifestyles; in addition to a richer diet, smaller families, delayed child bearing, and reduced breast feeding have driven breast cancer cases on to a higher trajectory.

And for the same reason, now more than ever, symptoms and signs of breast cancer should be made known to every woman. At any point of time if one notices anything unusual, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional. By performing monthly breast self-exams, a woman herself will be able to more easily identify any changes in her breasts that can be a cause of concern.

Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially be able notice only one or two. That being said, the presence of these symptoms and signs does not automatically mean that one has breast cancer.

Be on the look out for the following symptoms of Breast Cancer:

A Change in the Breast or Nipple Appearance

  • Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling anywhere on the breast
  • Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
  • Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted, if it is of recent onset.
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange

A Change in How the Breast or Nipple Feels

  •  Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
  • A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast  (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
  • A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)

Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge

It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, even though it is not always linked with breast cancer. Bloody discharge should always be treated with high degree of suspicion.