What are the signs of breast problems?

Breast symptoms are common symptoms that can occur in both women and men in any age group or population. Many underlying causes of breast symptoms are benign, but some types of symptoms may be caused by serious diseases, such as breast cancer.

Breast symptoms can include:

  • Breast deformity or misshapen breast

  • Breast lump (with or without pain)

  • Breast pain

  • Breast swelling

  • Breast tenderness

  • Change in the look and feel of the skin of the breast, such as dimpling or puckering

  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of the breast

  • New onset of inverted nipple

  • Nipple discharge or tenderness

  • Rash or sore on the breast or nipple

Breast symptoms can vary in character and intensity depending on the underlying cause and individual factors. They can be constant, or may only be felt when you examine or massage your breast. Breast symptoms can gradually build over weeks or months, or they can appear suddenly, such as breast symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or mastitis. They can occur in one or both breasts at a time.

Your breasts will undergo normal changes over the course of your life in size, shape, consistency and appearance. Hormonal changes are a common cause of breast symptoms. Hormonal changes can occur at the onset of puberty; during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, breastfeeding, perimenopause, and menopause; and with the use of hormone medications.

Breast symptoms can also be caused by physical changes, such as weight fluctuations, or other causes, such as breast injury and breast surgery. Breast symptoms can also occur as a result of breast cancer and other diseases, disorders or conditions, such as breast infections, breast adenosis, and cysts.

Seek prompt medical care if you have unexplained breast symptoms in one or both breasts. Left undetected and untreated,some underlying causes of breast symptoms, such as breast cancer, can lead to serious or life-threatening complications. Seeking regular medical care throughout your life improves your chances of discovering some serious diseases at their earliest, most curable stages.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with breast symptoms?

Breast symptoms may occur by themselves or with symptoms in other areas of the body. Some signs of breast problems may only be evident through medical testing. Seek medical care if you have breast pain, changes in your breasts, or other breast symptoms.

Symptoms you may be aware of include irritability and mood swings, which can be due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopause... Read more about breast symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes breast symptoms?

Breast symptoms may be caused by a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions. Sometimes breast symptoms are caused by a benign condition that is not generally harmful, such as pregnancy and other conditions that cause hormonal changes. In fact, over the course of your life, your breasts will undergo normal changes in size, shape, consistency and appearance. However, because breast symptoms ... Read more about breast symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.