Breast Cancer - Metaplastic: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Women with breast cancer may experience the following breast changes or symptoms. Sometimes, women with breast cancer do not show any of these symptoms when diagnosed. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.   

  • New lumps or a thickening in the breast or under the arm. However, many women normally have lumpy breasts.
  • Nipple tenderness, discharge, or physical changes, such as a nipple turned inward, a persistent sore, or a change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Skin irritation or changes, such as puckers, dimples, scaliness, or new creases
  • Warm, red, swollen breasts with a rash resembling the skin of an orange, which may be called peau d'orange
  • Pain in the breast. This is usually not a symptom of breast cancer, but should be reported to a doctor.

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, in addition to treating the cancer, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.