What are the other, lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer?

Blue stethescopeWhile all women are encouraged to perform breast cancer self-examinations to check for lumps, medical professionals also recommend they keep an eye out for some of the lesser-known symptoms that also indicate breast cancer.

Statistically, one in every six women diagnosed with breast cancer had symptoms other than a breast lump, according to a study presented to the National Cancer Research Institute.

At 83 percent, breast lumps remain the most common breast cancer indicators. However, the cancer can manifest several other symptoms that patients may dismiss or wait on:
- 7 percent - nipple abnormalities
- 6 percent - breast pain
- 2 percent - breast skin abnormalities
- 1 percent - breast ulceration
- Less than 1 percent - abnormalities of the contour of the breast or breast infections

Additionally, the study found that women who presented with non-lump symptoms were more likely to wait to see their physician.

"Getting breast cancer patients into the physician's office early and receiving treatment increase their chances for a positive outcome," said Pat Keigher, regional director of cancer services for McLaren Macomb. "Educating patients and having them take notice of these lesser-known symptoms will motivate them to take action and see their physician."

Waiting more than 90 days to see a physician regarding breast cancer-related symptoms has been linked to decreased 5-year survival rates.

To learn more about breast health and cancer care provided at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Macomb, visit mclaren.org/macombcancer.