A social media post that went viral featured one woman’s only symptom of breast cancer – a small dimple on the edge of her breast. This is one sign of a tumour that you could overlook in a monthly self-exam. “Very subtle dimples underneath that could easily be missed when we’re all rushing round getting ready in a morning,” writes the woman who shared the picture on her Facebook page, Lisa Royle, from Manchester, UK. Oncologist, Dr Anita Johnson, agrees. “Any dimpling or retraction of skin on your breast should be checked by your doctor.”
Your skin can get irritated for a lot of reasons, including a bra that fits poorly, heat rash, contact dermatitis, or other skin issues, but in rare cases it can be a symptom of breast cancer. “When breasts have unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness, or rashes that are new or have been there longer than expected, check with your doctor,” says gynaecologist, Dr Jessica Shepherd.
If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, breast discharge is likely nothing to worry about. For other women, however, certain types of discharge should be checked by a doctor. “Nipple discharge that is not clear, may have a greenish or yellowish colour, or is bloody can also be a symptom of breast cancer,” says Dr Shepherd. “Especially if the discharge is spontaneous, this can be a cause of concern.”