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Warning on rare breast symptoms

Tuesday November 8th, 2016

About 17% of women diagnosed with breast cancer present with symptoms other than lumps, a conference will hear today.

Researchers say that women with unusual symptoms tend to delay seeking medical help longer than others.

Typical non-lump symptoms include nipple abnormalities, breast pain or ulceration, skin abnormalities or an infected or inflamed breast - as well as abnormal shape.

Researchers at University College London studied details of more than 2,300 women recorded in the national audit of cancer diagnosis in primary care in 2010.

The findings were being reported to the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool, UK.

Researcher Monica Koo said: “Our research shows around one in six women diagnosed with breast cancer have symptoms other than a breast lump. These women are more likely to delay going to the doctor compared to women with breast lump alone.”

Institute director Dr Karen Kennedy called for awareness campaigns to highlight the less usual symptoms of the disease.

She said: “This research shows that, all too often, women are delaying going to their doctor with symptoms of breast cancer. This could be because people are simply unaware that breast cancer can present in many different ways, not just through the presence of a lump."

Abstract: Typical and atypical symptoms in women with breast cancer: Evidence of variation in diagnostic intervals from a national audit of cancer diagnosis [abstract]

Tags: Cancer | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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