Symptoms of breast cancer

Older woman concerned at pain in her chest

The symptoms you get depend on the type of breast cancer you have.

Symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • A change in size or shape of your breast such as one breast becoming larger than the other
  • A change in the skin of your breast, such as puckering, ridges or dimpling (the skin may look like orange peel) or redness
  • A breast abscess or boil - this may appear as a red, tender area on your breast.
  • A change in your nipple, such as a pulled in, sunken or flattened nipple.
  • An unusual discharge (liquid) from one or both of your nipples. The discharge may be blood stained or watery.
  • A change on or around the nipple such as a rash or flaky or crusted skin
  • Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
  • Soreness or warmth (inflammatory breast cancer)
  • A red scaly rash on one nipple, which may itch or burn (Paget’s disease of the breast)

 9 out of 10 breast changes won’t turn out to be breast cancer, but it's important to go to your GP if you have any symptoms and get them checked out.

Breast pain alone is rarely a symptom of breast cancer. 

Can I be screened for breast cancer?

Testing for breast cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. It involves an X-ray of the breasts (mammogram), which can detect early signs of cancer.

Finding and treating cancer early greatly improves your chances of survival.

Learn more about screening for breast cancer.


BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme, offers free screening every 2 years to women aged 50 to 69. For more details, contact BreastCheck on 1800 45 45 55 or visit

For more information

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1800 200 700

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