The earlier you find cancer, the better. That's why screening mammograms are so important. They can find breast cancer before there are any symptoms.
Dr. Connie Lehman at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance says for many women digital mammography is better.
"For younger women, women with dense breast tissue, women before they've gone through menopause," she said. "And increasingly we're finding that even in other groups of women, such as older women and women with fatty breast tissue, digital mammography is preferred."
But screening can't find all cancers.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. According to The American Cancer Society, a lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer.
But some cancers are tender, soft, and rounded or even painful, so it's important to have anything new or unusual checked by a doctor.
Here are some other symptoms of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast pain, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk.