The symptoms of breast cancer vary depending on the type of breast cancer. Since all types of cancer vary, so do their symptoms, location, and severity. Breast cancer often starts with a small lump in the breast and grows to become a tumor, which has the potential to spread to the other parts of the body or organs. Hence, keeping an eye on these early symptoms can reduce the risk of breast cancer both in men and women:
1. Symptoms of invasive breast cancer
Invasive breast cancers are those types of cancer that have spread to the surrounding tissues in the breast area. In these, cancer cells travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body. These cancer cells can travel when the tumor is small or big.
The symptoms of invasive breast cancer are as follows:
- Swelling and redness
- Skin irritation
- Lump in the breast
- Discharge from nipples
- Pain in any part of the breast
- Lumps or nodes in the underarm
- Nipple retraction
- The skin around the breast and nipple appearing scaly and thickened
2. Symptoms of ductal carcinoma
This is the most common type of breast cancer seen in women. It occurs in the cells of milk ducts that carry milk to the nipple. It does not have any symptoms and can be detected through a mammogram. This type of breast cancer causes lumps in the breast.
3. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer
It is a rare and aggressive disease in which the lymph vessels are blocked by the cancer cells. It is named inflammatory because the breast looks red and swollen. This cancer spreads rapidly, often within weeks or months. It rarely causes lumps, unlike other types of breast cancer. The mammogram may fail to detect the lump sometimes, too.
The symptoms of this include:
- Aching, burning, and heaviness in one breast
- One breast becoming visibly larger
- Inverted nipple
- Swollen, itchy, and red breast that is tender
- The surface of the breast may have a pitted appearance
- Underarms having swollen lymph nodes
- Symptoms stay unresolved after a course of antibiotics
4. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is one of those types of breast cancer that spreads beyond the breast to other organs like the liver, brain, bones, and lungs. It is treated like breast cancer in spite of being spread to other parts of the body.
The symptoms of this condition are as follows:
- When the breast or chest wall gets affected, it causes nipple discharge, thickening of breasts or underarms, and pain.
- When the bones get affected, it causes fractures, constipation, and pain.
- When the lungs get affected, it causes coughing, difficulty in breathing, and pain in the chest wall.
- When the liver gets affected, it causes nausea, swelling of feet and hands, extreme fatigue, and itchy or yellow skin.
- When cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord, it causes memory loss, confusion, headaches, seizures, blurred vision, and difficulty with speech.