Dana-Farber helps young women with breast cancer face unique needs

11/30/2010, 10:26 a.m.

Warning signs

Delayed diagnosis in young women is an issue. Because it is rare for a young woman to develop breast cancer, any change in the breast may be minimized or ignored. Partridge stressed the importance for all women to be aware of the following warning signs. “Do not be afraid to go to the doctor if you’re concerned about any breast symptoms.”

Lump or thickening in the breast: Especially one that is growing or changing as well as lumps under the arm or axilla.

Skin changes: Skin changes on the breast, like swelling or a rash, warmth, redness or darkening; or an itchy, scaly or sore nipple.

Nipple discharge:  “We are also worried when we hear about nipple discharge particularly if it is bloody,” said Partridge.

Breast changes: Change in size or shape, dimpling or puckering of skin.

Pain:  Pain in the breast or under arm that does not go away or gets worse over time. “There is a common misperception that if it’s painful, it’s not breast cancer,” said Partridge.

More information is available at www.dana-farber.org/YoungWomenBreastCancer.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States.