Breast Dimpling – Causes And Management
For long, doctors recommended women to perform periodic self-examination of the breast to look for lumps, masses and irregularities within the breast tissue. However, as of 2009, there has been a revision in this recommendation by Preventive Task Force, United States. This revision was made because experts suggested that breast self-examination doesn’t add much benefit; but instead causes anxiety and worry among women.
So, although you don’t have to perform periodic self-examination of your breasts, you should know what normal breasts looks like so in case of any irregularities, you can seek help as soon as possible.
Breast Dimpling – What Should You Know About It?
Dimpling of breast skin is often reported in the setting of breast cancer malignancy. Other signs and symptoms suggestive of breast cancer are:
- Thickening of overlying skin on the breast tissue or adjacent to the chest region
- Formation of a growth or lump in the breast tissue
- Presence of a discharge (pus or blood) from the nipple
- Puckering of skin
- Changes in the skin color or texture of overlying skin (also known as peau d’orange appearance)
- Inversion of nipple
Dimpling refers to puckering of skin and is often considered a serious sign as dimpling is often seen in malignant and advanced cancers due to invasion of skin by cancer cells. Besides dimpling, most cancers are also associated with peau d’orange appearance of skin due to invasion of lymphatics and blood vessels by cancer cells.
Dimpling is often unilateral (involving one breast only), mostly due to inflammatory cancer of breast. Most cases of bilateral dimpling are non-malignant.
Inflammatory Cancer of Breast
This variety of cancer is more common in women under 60 years of age. Besides dimpling, other signs and symptoms include:
- Irritated bump
- Itchy rash
- Pain or tenderness
- Nipple inversion or other changes
How To Diagnose If Breast Dimpling Is Due To Cancer?
Not all the cases of breast dimpling are caused by cancer. A few non-malignant conditions like fat necrosis (as a result of direct trauma) to breast can also cause breast dimpling. The only way to ascertain what is causing breast dimpling is, biopsy examination of breast tissue. You should look for other changes as well in your breast tissue as well as surrounding tissues.
Once final diagnosis is made, there are a number of treatment options to address the symptoms such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and so forth
Breast cancer is a serious malignancy and it is highly recommended to detect the lesion as early as possible. Spread breast cancer awareness and support your family and loved-ones who are living with this condition.
- Abera, H., Mengistu, D., & Bedaso, A. (2017). Effectiveness of planned teaching intervention on knowledge and practice of breast self-examination among first year midwifery students. PLoS One, 12(9), e0184636.
- Hiddink, S. A., & Smorenburg, C. A. (2016). A woman with skin dimpling of the breast. Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde, 160, D648-D648.