Breast cancer

Updated 17 November 2017

This woman’s viral photo reveals a breast cancer symptom that’s easy to overlook

Here’s what you need to know about a breast cancer symptom that is often easy to overlook.

When Sherrie Warner was putting on a bathing suit during the first week of June, she noticed some dimpling at the side of her breast.

The 37-year-old and mother of three mentioned the issue to her doctor two days later and was referred to a local breast clinic. Last week, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The dimpling on her skin was the only symptom Warner experienced, and she only knew that it could be a cause for worry because of a breast cancer awareness photograph she’d seen previously.

After her diagnosis, Warner decided to share a photo of her own breast on Facebook in order to spread awareness.

Read more: 4 breast cancer risk factors you might not know

“I decided to do the post almost straight away,” Warner told the Daily Mail. “I was sat in the car park and thought, ‘I’m going to put a picture on Facebook.’ It’s an intimate area and I was nervous about doing it but thought I’d do it in a delicate way and thought it would be worth it if it helped just one person. If I hadn’t seen a post like this previously I wouldn’t have known that this dimpling was a sign of cancer.”

Warner's post has been shared more than 1 300 times, educating women about the symptom and reminding them to conduct regular breast self-exams.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. However, other symptoms include swelling, skin irritation, dimpling, scaly skin, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction and nipple discharge other than breast milk.

Read more: This really simple image could actually help you detect breast cancer

Dimpling due to breast cancer can be caused by an underlying mass like a tumour underneath the skin that is pulling the skin inward. Dimpling or puckering isn’t an automatic cause for panic, as it could also be caused by scarring, cellulite, or a condition called fat necrosis, according to the journal of Diagnostic Radiology.

Regardless, the Mayo Clinic recommends getting checked out any time you notice a change to your breasts.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock 


Ask the Expert

Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

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