When it comes to breast cancer, we ladies know that we have to be ever vigilant about the presence of lumps in and around our breast tissue. But a lump is not the only symptom of the disease. Do you know the other signs you should be looking for during your monthly self-exam?

While lumps should be at the top of the list of things you are checking for, many of the signs of breast cancer are more subtle and can mimic the symptoms of other conditions. That's why it's important to check in with your doctor for annual checkups and keep a close eye out in between visits for any changes.

According to the National Cancer Institute and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, other signs of breast cancer include:

  • Changes in the size or shape of your breast
  • Dimpling or pitting of the skin around the breast (it may look like an orange peel)
  • Inverted nipples
  • Nipple discharge
  • Swelling or redness around the breast
  • Persistent itching in the breast area that may or may not be accompanied by a rash or small irritation that looks similar to an insect bite

As you can see, many of these potential breast cancer symptoms can be vague. And many women are likely to chalk them up to other conditions. But if you experience any one of them, and in particular if you experience more than one of them, you should contact your health care provider immediately.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. But with early detection and treatment, you can significantly increase the odds that you can continue to survive and thrive beyond diagnosis.

The signs of breast cancer you may not know
You know to look for lumps, but health experts say you should watch out for these breast cancer symptoms too.