Breast cancer symptoms

March. 09,2021

Clinical manifestations

The symptoms of early breast cancer are mostly unobvious. Advanced breast cancer can metastasize cancer cells far away and cause multiple organ diseases throughout the body, which directly threatens the lives of patients.

Predisposing factors

In addition to the above-mentioned high-risk factors, there are still some lifestyles that have a certain relationship with the incidence of breast cancer. For example, overnutrition, obesity, high-fat diet, and excessive drinking will increase the incidence of breast cancer.

Typical symptoms

Early symptoms

The symptoms of early breast cancer are mostly unobvious. Local symptoms such as breast lumps, breast skin abnormalities, nipple discharge, and nipple or areola abnormalities are the main ones. Because of their unobvious performance, they are very easy to be ignored.

The different typical performances are described in detail below.

Breast lumps

Breast lumps are the most common symptoms of early breast cancer. The breast is divided into cross sections. The lumps are often located at the outer upper limit. They are mostly unilateral and single, with hard texture, irregular edges, unsmooth surface and not easy to be pushed. Most breast cancers are painless masses, and a few cases are accompanied by varying degrees of dull pain or tingling.

Breast skin abnormalities

Breast lumps often invade the surrounding local tissues and have multiple physical signs. When the lump invades the ligament between the gland and the skin, it can pull the skin to form a depression, which looks like a dimple, so it is called the "dimple sign."

When cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels, it can cause lymphedema and orange peel-like changes in the breast skin, also known as "orange peel sign."

When cancer cells infiltrate into the skin to grow, scattered hard skin nodules, called "skin satellite nodules", can form around the main lesion.

In special types of breast cancer, such as inflammatory breast cancer, the breast skin appears red, swollen, thickened, and hardened, with an orange peel-like appearance, gradually turning into a purplish red like blood stasis.

Abnormal nipple and areola

When the lumps invade the nipple or the subareola area, the nipple can be dented, deflected, or even retracted completely behind the areola due to the pulling of the nipple.

Special types of breast cancer, such as nipple eczema-like carcinoma, manifests as unilateral nipple, areola and surrounding skin itching, red patchy eczema-like appearance, and more exudative scabs or keratotic desquamation on the surface, which can be severe Form ulcers.

Nipple discharge

In some breast cancer patients in non-physiological conditions (such as pregnancy and lactation), unilateral breasts may have nipple discharge, and the nature of the fluid is mostly bloody, serous or watery.

Swollen axillary lymph nodes

When breast cancer cells fall off, they can invade the surrounding lymphatic vessels and metastasize to its local lymphatic drainage area. In the early stage, patients mostly showed swelling of the ipsilateral axillary lymph nodes, and the swollen lymph nodes were still active.

Subsequently, the lymph nodes changed from small to large, from less to more, and finally merged and fixed with each other. When the condition continues to develop, the metastatic lymph nodes can be felt on the supraclavicular and the contralateral armpit.

Accompanying symptoms

Cachexia may appear in patients with breast cancer in the middle and late stages, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as loss of appetite, anorexia, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and fever. Some patients may have symptoms of metastasis due to metastasis, mainly lung, pleura, bone, liver, and brain.

Lung and pleural metastases

The lung is a common metastatic site of breast cancer, often manifested as bilateral multiple nodules. Patients may have symptoms such as coughing, dyspnea, hemoptysis, and chest pain. Pleural metastasis is mainly manifested as cough, fatigue, weakness, dyspnea, and some patients have chest pain.

Bone metastasis

The most vulnerable parts of bone metastasis are the spine, ribs, pelvis, and long bones. It can also occur in the scapula, skull and other parts. The main manifestations are bone pain, hypercalcemia, elevated alkaline phosphatase, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase. higher.

Liver metastasis

When the liver metastases are small, there are no special symptoms. When the mass is large or wide, hepatomegaly, liver pain, loss of appetite, abdominal distension, etc. may occur. Symptoms such as jaundice and ascites may occur in the late stage.

Brain metastases

Brain metastasis is mainly manifested as meningeal and brain parenchymal metastasis. The clinical manifestations of brain parenchymal metastasis include increased intracranial pressure, headache, vomiting, and optic nerve head edema, and seizures may occur. The main manifestations of meningeal metastasis are meningeal irritation, cranial nerve involvement, and increased intracranial pressure.