Breast cancer symptoms

This page shows you the key symptoms of breast cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the UK. It affects one in eight women at some time in their life.

Being aware of any changes to your breasts can help to find breast cancer early. Diagnosing breast cancer early means treating it is more likely to be successful.

If you have any of the symptoms below, make an appointment with your GP.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Here are some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer. It's important to check the whole of your breast area. This includes both breasts, your armpits and up to your collarbone. The illustrations below show you what to look out for, but remember these symptoms might happen on a different part of the breast area than shown in the picture.

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Getting information and support from Breast Cancer Care

Breast Cancer Care is the only UK-wide charity providing specialist support and tailored information for anyone concerned about breast cancer.

You may be worried a change in your breast will be breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care has information on breast cancer as well as on benign (not cancer) breast problems.

If you have a concern about a breast change or are worried about breast cancer, you can call their free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 for information and support. Or you can email one of their nurses.

Most breast changes are not breast cancer. But if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, Breast Cancer Care is here to support you through their information and services from day one and for as long as you need.

For more information, visit

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    • Breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics. Cancer Research UK., last reviewed November 2016
    • Early detection of cancer. World Health Organization., accessed 21 September 2017
    • Be breast aware. NHS Cancer Screening Programme., last updated 2006
    • Checking your breasts. Breast Cancer Care., last reviewed December 2016
  • Reviewed by Graham Pembrey, Lead Health Editor, Bupa Health Content Team
    The information on this page is based on our medically-reviewed content on breast awareness and breast cancer.
    Next review due December 2020

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