Breast dimpling, also known as orange peel appearance (peau d' orange), is a symptom of possible breast cancer that requires immediate medical attention. Any unusual change in the appearance, texture, skin temperature or size of a breast should be immediately discussed with a doctor. Dimpling or puckering in the breast skin may relate to a tumor near the upper layer of skin, and the tumor may be blocking the lymphatic system and causing a build up of fluids.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Breast dimpling may be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that this cancer is a "rare but very aggressive cancer...in which cancer cells block the lymph vessels of the breast." Inflammatory breast cancer may cause "the skin to have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange." The NIC warns that these symptoms may appear rapidly, within just a few weeks. This breast dimpling is caused by an excess of fluids in the breast due to blockage of the lymph draining system. Any sign of a tumor or breast dimpling may indicate possible cancer.
Breast lymphadenopathy may cause dimpling of the breast skin. With this disorder, swelling may occur in a breast and also the arm on that side of the body. A change in size of the lymph nodes may also occur if cancer cells move into the node. Any unusual dimpling or swelling of the breast or nearby node may be a symptom of cancer should be immediately checked by a doctor. Breast dimpling will not clear on its own; do not wait to report this symptom.
A breast ulcer may cause dimpling of the breast skin. A breast ulcer is a round, red area on the skin of the breast that is inflamed and may also ooze pus. A breast ulcer may be a symptom of advanced breast cancer.
Treatment for Symptoms of Breast Dimpling
A doctor may order tests such as a mammogram, biopsy, and ultrasound when a breast has an occurrence of dimpling in the skin. If inflammatory breast cancer is diagnosed, the National Cancer Institute notes that treatment may include "chemotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, radiation therapy and hormonal therapy."
Prevention of Breast Cancer
The Centers for Disease Control describe a myriad of health habits to develop help prevent breast cancer. The CDC recommends the tactics of "controlling weight, exercising, knowing the family history of breast cancer and discussing it with a doctor, finding out risks/ benefits of hormone therapy and limiting the amount of alcohol consumed." According to the CDC, about 40,000 women die from breast cancer annually in America. Thus, preventive measures are crucial.