A study has found that one in six women diagnosed with breast cancer can have symptoms other than a breast lump.
According to Daily Mail these symptoms include back pain, a swollen arm, breathlessness and weight loss.
The study was conducted by researchers from University College London, who said too many women are not aware that there are other symptoms of breast cancer.
Researchers also believe that these women are more likely to wait at least three months before seeing their GP compared to those with a lump.
According to the research, breast cancer can cause arm ache or shoulder pain if it occurs in the lymph glands, which are situated in the armpit.
The study analysed data of 2 300 women that were diagnosed of the disease in 2009 and 2010.
The findings show that 76 percent went to the doctor complaining of a lump, while 17 percent complained about non-lump symptoms such as the shape of their breast or nipple, swollen arms, back pain and weight loss.
The seven percent experienced both lump and non-lump symptoms.
Lead author and researcher in cancer epidemiology at UC, Monica Koo said public health officials need to raise awareness about the other symptoms of the disease.
“It’s crucial that women are aware that a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer. If they are worried about any breast symptoms, the best thing to do is to get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible.”
Koo also added that women with other symptoms other than a lump are more likely to delay going to the doctor.
Director of the NCRI, Dr Karen Kennedy said this research shows that all too often, women are delaying going to their doctor with symptoms of breast cancer.
“This could be because people are simply unaware that breast cancer can present in many different ways, not just through the presence of a lump.”
‘With a disease like breast cancer, it’s essential to be diagnosed as early as possible so that a treatment plan can be developed and started.
Kennedy added that there needs to be more awareness campaigns to educate women about all the potential symptoms of breast cancer so that people know how to spot the signs and when to go to a doctor.