What Are the Symptoms of Stage 1 Breast Cancer?

Reviewed on 8/24/2021

Symptoms of stage 1 breast cancer include skin irritation or dimpling, swelling/redness/scaling/flaking/thickening of the nipple or breast skin, change in the size or the shape of the breast, nipple turning inward, change in the appearance of a nipple, nipple discharge that is not breast milk, breast pain, nipple pain, new lump in the breast, and a lump in the armpit.
Symptoms of stage 1 breast cancer include skin irritation or dimpling, swelling/redness/scaling/flaking/thickening of the nipple or breast skin, change in the size or the shape of the breast, nipple turning inward, change in the appearance of a nipple, nipple discharge that is not breast milk, breast pain, nipple pain, new lump in the breast, and a lump in the armpit.

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow out of control. Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the U.S., and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women (lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths). Breast cancer is more common in women, but men can get it too. 

Stage 1 breast cancer is cancer still small and localized to the breast and either has not spread to the lymph nodes or a tiny area of cancer has spread to the sentinel lymph node (the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread).

Symptoms of stage 1 breast cancer include:

  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Redness, scaling, flaking, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • A change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Nipple turning inward or change in the appearance of a nipple
  • Nipple discharge that is not breast milk
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain 
  • New lump in the breast 
  • A lump in the armpit

What Causes Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer results from damage to a cell’s DNA, but the cause of this damage is unknown. 

Risk factors for developing breast cancer include:

  • Inherited genetic mutations, such as mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
  • Family history of breast cancer, especially a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter)
  • Personal history of breast cancer or noncancerous breast disease 
  • Having dense breasts
  • Age over 50 years
  • Physical inactivity/sedentary lifestyle
  • Previous radiation therapy treatment to the chest or breasts
  • Early onset of menstrual periods (before age 12) or late menopause (after age 55)
  • History of use of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Breast cancer is diagnosed with a patient history and a physical examination. During a physical exam, a healthcare provider may find a lump in the breast. Tests used to confirm a diagnosis may include:

If the breast cancer is suspected of metastasizing (spreading), imaging studies may be indicated, such as:

What Is the Treatment for Breast Cancer?

Stage 1 breast cancer is highly treatable and treatment usually involves surgery, radiation, a combination of the two, or hormone therapy. 

Treatment for breast cancer depends on the extent of the tumor and may involve one or more of the following:

  • Surgery
    • Lumpectomy – removal of the tumor and some healthy tissue that surrounds it
    • Mastectomy – removal of the entire breast which may be followed by breast reconstruction (not usually used for stage 1 breast cancer, but may be a treatment in later stages)
  • Radiation therapy
    • May be combined with surgery in stage 1
  • Hormone therapy 
  • Chemotherapy
    • Not often used for stage 1 breast cancer
  • Targeted therapy 
  • Immunotherapy 

SLIDESHOW

Breast Cancer Awareness: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 8/24/2021
References
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2007112-overview

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/breast-cancer-guide-to-diagnosis-and-treatment-beyond-the-basics?search=breast%20cancer&source=search_result&selectedTitle=8~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=8

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/index.htm

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-stage-0-and-stage-1