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Learn to Recognize Early Signs of Breast Cancer

The best way to find breast cancer early is with a mammogram. If you’re a woman 50 to 74 years old, get a screening mammogram every two years. If you’re 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get a screening mammogram.


When breast cancer starts out, it’s too small to feel. As it grows, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include—

  • A new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Where to Get a Mammogram

If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctor’s office. Most health insurance companies pay for screening mammograms. If you have a low income or don’t have health insurance, you may qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

Learn more about breast cancer.