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Signs and Symptoms 2017-07-28T05:56:00+00:00

Performing a breast self examination is considered optional by many large organizations, however, Pink Pearls of Hope strongly urge women to perform them as an important first step in participating in her own health care. The reasons to perform them: (1) BSEs allow you to become familiar with your breasts (shape, size, marks, and texture) and recognize the difference between your normal breast and any abnormalities to your breast, should they occur; symptoms(2) It allows you to find lumps or abnormalities that are often not detected by mammography; and (3) For women who are not at the suggested mammography age of 40, or are not yet scheduled for your next Clinical Breast Examination, the BSE allows you to find abnormalities before your next scheduled visit. Early detection allows you the maximum benefit in treatment options and survival outcomes. So ladies (and gents), now that you made the commitment to perform BSEs, you need to know what you are looking for during your screening. Below are a list of symptoms and changes to your breast that are important to recognize when performing a breast self exam:

  • Any new lump or hard knot found in the breast or armpit.
  • Rapid change in the appearance of one breast, over the course of days or weeks.
  • Thickness, heaviness or visible enlargement of one breast.
  • Discoloration, giving the breast a red, purple, pink or bruised appearance.
  • Unusual warmth of the affected breast.
  • Any lump or thickening that does not shrink or lessen after your next period.
  • Any change in the size, shape or symmetry of your breast.
  • A thickening or swelling of the breast.
  • Any dimpling, puckering, scaliness, skin irritation, or indentions in the breast, similar to an orange peel.
  • Nipple Discharge (fluid coming from your nipples other than breast milk), particularly if the discharge is bloody, clear and sticky, dark or occurs without squeezing your nipple.
  • Nipple tenderness, pain or aching.
  • Breast or nipple itching.
  • Nipple retraction: turning or drawing inward or pointing in a new direction.
  • Nipple flattening.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm, above the collarbone or below the collarbone.
  • Any breast change may be cause for concern, consult your doctor.
Imaginis: The Women’s Health Resource. (2009). Breast Changes and Warning Signs To Watch for During Breast Self-Exam. Retrieved March 30, 2010 from,
Mayo Clinic: Inflammatory Breast Cancer (2010). Retrieved October 15, 2010 from