Breast dimpling: Is it cancer?

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Cancer is not the only reason why dimpling occurs in the breast tissue, but if you discover any dimpling during a visual breast examination or any other time of your cycle, see your doctor immediately. 

What is breast dimpling?

Also known as peau d'orange, dimpling of the breast causes the skin to look like the pitted, uneven skin of an orange. Sometimes, the skin can also be red and inflamed.


There are two main reasons for breast dimpling:  

1. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBS)

This is a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer in which cancerous cells affect the lymph vessels and the skin, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

IBS accounts for 1-5% of all breast cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. It is more likely to affect younger women.  

Dimpling as a sign of breast cancer tends to occur in only one breast. If dimpling affects both breasts, the person probably does not have breast cancer. With inflammatory breast cancer, there may not be a lump.

IBS is usually accompanied by the following changes: 

The area around the breast, nipple, or areola may appear red, scaly, or swollen. The breast tissue or the area near the underarm may become thicker. 

2. Fat necrosis

Dimpling can also be a symptom of fat necrosis, a condition where the fatty tissue in the breast dies. This can happen for various reasons, including breast surgery, a bruise or injury, or as a side effect of a biopsy.

There is no link between fat necrosis and breast cancer, but it can also cause a lump and dimpling. Dimpling is more likely if the fat necrosis occurs near the surface of the breast.

The only way to find out if dimpling is due to breast cancer or fat necrosis is by being examined by a doctor and having a breast biopsy.


What to do if you find orange peel-like skin on your breasts?

If you notice dimpling or other changes in the breast tissue, see your doctor immediately so they can find out why the dimpling is there. Your doctor will perform a breast exam. He or she may also order a mammogram or ultrasound and biopsy if needed. 

Remember that early detection of any changes in your breasts give you a better chance of maintaining good health. Stay calm and log your data with the MIA app. 


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