You Notice Changes That Arent Related To Your Boobs At All
Back pain, neck pain, and unexplained weight loss were all listed as other breast cancer symptoms that led women to seek medical care and ultimately get diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology.
Thats because breast cancer can spread before its caught, causing symptoms in body parts that have nothing to do with your boobs. Its not possible to identify every possible sign of breast cancer so when it comes to early detection, you are your own best weapon, says Dr. Denduluri. Overall, any persistent, noticeable change should be checked by a doctor.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes In The Armpit
Enlarged lymph nodes occur when the node becomes larger as it fills with inflammatory cells. This often is a result of an infection but can occur without a known cause.
You should discuss with a health care provider whether or not your lymph node needs to be checked. Enlarged lymph nodes will usually shrink on their own. To speed up the process, try applying a warm, wet compress to the affected area.
Top Symptoms: armpit lump, movable armpit lump
Symptoms that always occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit: armpit lump
Symptoms that never occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit: fever, unintentional weight loss, hard lump in the armpit
Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit
What Does A Lump Under The Armpit Mean
Most of the time, a lump under the armpit is an enlarged lymph node. Lymph nodes are an important part of the immune system and can swell when the body is fighting off an infection or dealing with an injury.
If the skin looks normal, but there is a bump that can be felt under the skin, the lump may be an enlarged lymph node.
It is usually advised to monitor the lump for a few days to see what happens. If the lump goes away, then the lymph node most likely became swollen in response to an infection or inflammation. Symptoms such as redness, pain, or fever accompanying the swollen lymph node can be symptoms of infection that should be checked out by a doctor.
Another common explanation for a lump under the armpit is something in the skin, such as a cyst or a blocked hair follicle.
In rare circumstances, an enlarged lymph node that has certain characteristics can be a sign of cancer.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Learning everything you can about your diagnosis can help you make informed decisions about your health. Here are some questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Where is the tumor located?
- Has the tumor spread?
- What stage breast cancer do I have?
- What do the estrogen receptor , progesterone receptor and HER2 tests show and what do the results mean for me?
- What are my treatment options?
- Is breast cancer surgery an option for me?
- Will I be able to work while I undergo treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What other resources are available to me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can feel scary, frustrating and even hopeless. If you or a loved one is facing this disease, its important to take advantage of the many resources available to you. Talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options. You may even want to get a second opinion before making a decision. You should feel satisfied and optimistic about your treatment plan. Finally, joining a local support group can help with feelings of isolation and allow you to talk with other people who are going through the same thing.
My Breast Looked A Little Pink
In the shower one day, I noticed a pale pinkness on my breast just below my nipple area, which looked more like a mild sunburn than a rash. I knew something was off. I had my ob-gyn take a look, and he said he wasnt concerned at all because it was barely noticeable. He suggested my bra fit too snugly, and I needed to go shopping for new bras. So I did just that.
Over time, that pink area hardened slightly and was sore to the touch. My ob-gyn again said he wasnt concerned. Eventually the pain increased behind my breast in my back. My ob-gyn said that breast cancer does not hurt, so I didnt need to worry about it. He ordered a mammogram to put my mind at ease. The mammogram and all other tests came back normal.
Weeks went by and my lower back began to hurt. Eventually, after my GP suggested I had arthritis and I went to physical therapy. I went to see a breast specialist. He told me I had mastitis and gave me antibiotics. That didnt help. Back at the breast surgeon, he sent a picture of my breast to the top surgeon who ordered a diagnostic mammogram, which includes a sonogram and a biopsy. I was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer in my breast, bones, and liver.
Jennifer Cordts, stay-at-home mom, Dallas
Read Also: Does Breast Cancer Show Up In Blood Tests
Outlook For Armpit Lumps
The outlook for an armpit lump depends on its cause. For example, a lump that stems from a self-limited viral infection will likely eventually go away on its own. However, a lipoma, while harmless, usually does not go away on its own. A dermatologist can help you remove it.
The outlook for an armpit lump caused by cancer depends on a variety of factors, including the stage of cancer and whether the tumors have spread to other parts of the body. For the best chance of recovery, its important you go to your doctor early on for diagnosis and treatment.
Even if you dont think the lump is harmful, its best to contact your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
What Is Usually The First Sign Of Breast Cancer
The common signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump in the breast or in the armpits is often the first sign of breast cancer. This may be felt while in the shower. There may or may not be changes in the structure of the breast. Axillary swelling may indicate that cancer from the breast has traveled to the lymph nodes, and now there may be a lymph node invasion.
Apart from above signs below are few other sign and symptoms:
- Changes in the nipple area, nipple retraction and inverted nipple are common warning signs of breast cancer
- Bleeding from the nipple may be limited and difficult to see, but if an individual notices blood stains on the bra, or if the secretions are unusual, bloody or continuous, they may need urgent medical attention.
- Change in color and/or thickening of skin on the breast that resembles an orange rind is a warning sign of breast cancer. If the breast skin changes color, typically to a pink or reddish hue that covers more than half the breast that may also be a warning sign.
- A non-healing sore anywhere on the breast, including the nipple with or without bleeding may be a warning sign of breast cancer
- Increased warmth in the breast with change in size and appearance of breast is a sign of breast cancer.
Read Also: How Does Breast Cancer Start And Spread
What Does A Cancer Lump In The Armpit Feel Like
A normal lymph node should have the shape of a lima bean. It should also be somewhat firm, but still have some give to it. A cancerous lymph node will often become rock hard. It will also lose the lima bean shape and become more rounded like a marble.
If a swollen lymph node is overly firm and is not shaped like a lima bean, it could potentially be cancerous. Likewise, if the lump is obviously not in the skin, and if it persists, gets larger, and is not accompanied by signs of an infection, it may be time to seek medical attention.
Remember: It is impossible to diagnose cancer by touch so if you are concerned or notice these symptoms, you should contact your doctor. While a lump in the armpit is usually not something to worry about, and the explanation for it is usually something mild and relatively harmless, it is better to be safe and have it checked out.
Cu Cancer Center Member Anosheh Afghahi Md Explains Whats Going On And How Doctors Are Dealing With The Problem
The COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to significantly slow the spread of the virus, but the Pfizer and Moderna and vaccines are having an unforeseen consequence for breast cancer doctors. The vaccines often cause swelling in the armpit or underarm that can mimic the lumps associated with breast cancer, causing some women undue concern.
Medical oncologist and University of Colorado Cancer Center member Anosheh Afghahi, MD, has encountered the problem in her own practice in the following discussion she explains what is happening and what providers are doing about it.
Also Check: How Long Does Breast Cancer Take To Develop
How Does My Doctor Diagnose An Armpit Lump
There are a number of ways that your doctor can diagnose an armpit lump. The first is by doing a physical examination where your doctor will look at the lump and feel for any abnormalities.
Your doctor may also order a blood test or biopsy to rule out infections or to test to see if the lump contains cancer cells. Allergy testing may also be necessary if your doctor suspects an allergic reaction.
Finally, a chest X-ray or mammogram may be ordered for more detailed images if your doctor suspects that the lump is caused by an infection or cancer.
What Causes Armpit Lumps
There are a number of things that can cause armpit lumps, the most common being abnormal tissue growth.
However, tissue growth is not always the cause and there may be a serious medical condition causing it which needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately. Other common causes of lumps in your armpit include:
Read Also: How Do You Feel With Breast Cancer
When To Worry About Your Bodys Lumps And Bumps
When it comes to lumps and bumps that suddenly appear on your body, the good news is that it is nothing to worry about in most cases.
This is especially true when the lump or bump is soft, moves or changes form when you touch it or apply pressure, or grows larger and more painful when you are physically active and returns to normal when you rest. Despite these reassurances, we at United Hospital Center encourage you to learn more about when a lump or bump warrants medical attention. We highlight the characteristics of three types of potentially concerning body lumps and bumps below.
Or Your Nipples Are Leaking
Is there anything more alarming than having your breasts start squirting liquid when theres no baby involved? Its normal to have some leakage during pregnancy while breastfeeding, and up to a year after weaning your baby, but if you notice any discharge any other time it needs to be evaluated by a doctor, says Dr. Patt.
Random dischargeespecially if its red or green or has an odormight mean you have a problem, including cancer of the breast or the pituitary gland, Dr. Patt explains.
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Itchy Breast Redness And Pain
The American Cancer Society mentions that while the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump, other possible symptoms include skin irritation and dimpling, as well as redness, scaliness or thickening of the breast skin.1
Its common for breasts to be sore and sensitive during menstruation, but this symptom could mean something more serious if you have sore breasts sensitivity that persists after that period. There may also be swelling involved with skin that is warm to the touch, indicating the less common forms of inflammatory breast cancer.
It is worth noting that it is rare that breast pain or sore breasts after period is a sign of cancer. Doctors from Harvard Medical School say that sore tender breasts are usually not connected with breast cancer.
Cancer Research UK says that itchy breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, however this is very rare. With this type of cancer, the area of skin over the tumor can become red, inflamed, painful and itchy.2
Inflammatory cancer may also cause swelling and pain in the chest. The skin may look scaly or have small blue marks similar to hemorrhages, somewhat like cellulite holes on the breast.
Doctors on WebMD say that a reddish, pitted surface like the skin of an orange could be a sign of advanced breast cancer. They also mention a marble-like area under the skin or indentation on the breast, which may indicate a tumor that cannot be seen or felt.3
What Is An Armpit Lump
Your armpit is located under your shoulder joint, where the arm connects to the shoulder. It contains nerves, blood vessels and small glands known as the lymph nodes.
An armpit lump is any growth on your skin in this area that normally shouldnt be there.Lumps can appear anywhere on your body. If you find a lump, you shouldnt ignore it.
Lump Under Armpit/top Of Left Breast
Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience to what I’m currently going through. Three weeks ago I awoke to armpit pain. After having a feel around I discovered a lump. I went to my GP who thought it was a lymp node- although I no obvious symptoms of an infection. She asked to see me again in three weeks time. I left feeling relatively reassured.
However, as time as passed, the pain has disappeared but the lump has not. It’s very moveable but difficult to describe the size. When my arm is relaxed it feels like a typical bean shape but when my arm is lifted feels more like a grape. I’ve even began to question if there are in fact two lumps in the same place- but perhaps this is just my anxiety running wild with me.
I’m going to make an appointment with the GP tomorrow. I’m really, really anxious about it and haven’t been sleeping. I woke up sweating a number of times last night which has added to the anxiety. I went through a cancer scare this time last year and I think it’s left me with health anxiety. I have two small children and the what ifs are petrifying me.
I’d be grateful to hear off anyone who has been through anything similar.
P.S Just had another feel around my breast. I can also feel a tiny lump, maybe as big as a pen top? And a slightly enlarged lymph node in addition to the other lump. So definitely 3 in total. Totally freaking out!
Hope this helps x
Changes To The Breast Or Chest Area
After breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, be aware of any changes to either side, such as:
- swelling on your chest, in your armpit or around your collarbone
- a change in shape or size
- a change in skin texture, such as puckering or dimpling
- redness or a rash on or around the nipple or on the skin
- liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing it
- the nipple has become inverted or looks different, for example changed its position or shape
- swelling in the arm or hand
- a lump or thickening that feels different
Read Also: What Are Some Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At each of our CTCA Breast Cancer Centers, located in our hospitals in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix, our cancer care experts are devoted to a single mission: treating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision.
Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and may also include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic/reconstructive surgeon. Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat the many types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ to complex diseases such as triple-negative breast cancer and IBC. Genetic counseling and genetic testing are also available for qualifying patients.
Our patient-centered care model is designed to help you keep strong during treatment. Your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive care services, including:
Symptoms If Cancer Has Spread To The Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are part of a system of tubes and glands in the body that filters body fluids and fights infection.
The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they feel hard or swollen. You might have any of the following symptoms if your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes:
- a lump or swelling under your armpit
- swelling in your arm or hand
- a lump or swelling in your breast bone or collar bone area
One of the first places breast cancer can spread to is the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. This is not a secondary cancer.
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What Are Likely Causes Of Armpit Lump
Well, the reasons can be many, but some factors warrant greater caution. Ignoring it is not your option!
Any lump deserves serious consideration and should be examined. Its important to see your doctor to seek prompt medical care if unresolving armpit lump doesnt go away within a couple of weeks or gets bigger, says Dr Sundari.
Lumps may occur due to one of the following reasons:
1. Reactive lymph nodes which may have infective, inflammatory and metastatic origin 2. Lipoma, abscess, hematoma, epidermoid inclusion cyst and sebaceous cyst 3. Hidradenitis suppurativa, Langerhans histiocytosis 4. Benign and metastatic neoplasms 5. Extra axillary masses 6. Congenital and developmental anomalies