Top Five Skin Changes Seen With Breast Cancer

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Although skin cancer remains the most common form of cancer affecting both men and women in the United States, Sanova Dermatology recognizes 1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer. The telltale sign of breast cancer is the development of a lump in one’s breast. But there are several skin changes that can also help you identify breast cancer before it spreads. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so here are the top 5 skin changes that can be seen when underlying breast cancer is present.

  1. Size and shape: If the size and/or shape of one breast noticeably changes, if your bra fits a little different, or you notice a change in appearance when you look in the mirror, there could be an underlying problem. If anything looks suspicious, it is best to check with your physician to ease your concern.
  2. Skin Texture: Dimpling of the skin over the breast can indicate a tumor has developed below the surface. As well, a change in skin texture known as “peau d’orange” where the skin begins to resemble the uneven surface of an orange with swelling and indentation of the pores and/or hair follicles is another worrisome sign. This textural change is caused by edema and swelling that might be associated with breast cancer.
  3. Discharge: Discharge from the nipple is not always a sign for concern, but if non-milky clear or bloody discharge occurs without squeezing or manipulating the nipple, this should be evaluated by a doctor.
  4. Irritation and Rash: Red, tender skin or a scaly or flaky rash could simply represent an irritation or eczema that develops in the skin. However, if the skin rash persists and doesn’t go away, patients should be evaluated for an underlying tumor.
  5. Inverted Nipple: This can also be a normal skin finding in many women. However, some cancers can affect the ducts in the breast tissue or grow under the nipple causing traction and inversion. If you have noticed a recent change in the appearance of one of your breast and nipple area, it is best to get it evaluated by a doctor.

If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists, please contact us today.

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