Pagets Disease Of The Breast
This is a rare skin condition that is sometimes a sign of an underlying breast cancer. The symptoms are a red, scaly rash on the nipple and surrounding area. This can be itchy and looks a bit like eczema. It is sometimes mistaken for eczema at first.
See your doctor if you have any changes in the skin of your breast.
Breast Pain Linked To Periods
Many women feel discomfort and lumpiness in both breasts a week or so before their period.
The pain can vary from mild to severe and the breasts can also be tender and sore to touch.
You may experience heaviness, tenderness, a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or a feeling of tightness.
The pain usually affects both breasts but it can affect just one breast. It can also spread to the armpit, down the arm and to the shoulder blade.
Cyclical breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. The pain often goes away once a period starts. In some women, this type of pain will go away by itself, but it can come back.
This type of pain usually stops after the menopause, though women taking hormone replacement therapy can also have breast pain.
Breast pain can also be associated with starting to take or changing contraception that contains hormones.
What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
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Metastatic Breast Cancer And Pain
Metastatic breast cancer may also cause pain. It could be from a larger tumorthese are often over 2 centimeters in diameteror pain in other regions of the body due to the spread of cancer. If breast cancer spreads to your bones, it may cause bone pain, or back pain with leg weakness. If cancer spreads to your brain, it may cause headaches.
If breast cancer travels to the adrenal glands, you may feel a dull back pain. If your breast cancer spreads to your liver, you could have pain in the upper right part of your abdomen and develop jaundice .
If I Have Fibrocystic Breasts Should I Ask My Doctor About Other Types Of Screening
Sometimes mammograms of women with fibrocystic breast tissue may be more difficult to read and interpret. Many healthcare professionals recommend choosing a breast center that offers digital mammography. Digital mammograms allow the radiologist to change to contrast of light and dark and to enlarge areas of the breast tissue on the screen to more closely examine areas of concern.
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Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.
The most common signs are:
- A change in the look or feel of the breast OR
- A change in the look or feel of the nipple OR
- Nipple discharge
If you have any of the warning signs described below, see a health care provider .
If you dont have a provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend.
If thats not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital. If you have insurance, your insurance company may also have a list of providers in your area.
Learn more about finding a health care provider.
In most cases, these changes are not cancer.
One example is breast pain. Pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer, but the only way to know for sure is to get it checked.
If the change turns out to be breast cancer, its best to find it at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.
If You Experience Pain Along With Any Of The Following Symptoms You Should Contact Your Physician
- Bloody or clear discharge from your nipple
- A new lump with the onset of the pain lump does not go away after your menstrual period
- Persistent, unexplained breast pain
- Signs of a breast infection, including local redness, pus, or fever
- Redness of the skin of the breast that may appear as a rash, with dilated pores, and possibly skin thickening.
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Myth : Doctors Can Tell If A Lump Is Cancer Just By Feeling It
Wrong. Neither you nor your healthcare provider no matter how good he or she is can tell whether a lump is cancer without diagnostic imaging.
Providers who say, Its probably OK, without investigating further may cause a delay in diagnosing breast cancer, Dr. Pederson says. Dont let your doctor guess. Get imaging.
Women age 30 and older will have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. An ultrasound helps evaluate a mass by assessing whether it is solid or fluid-filled. Women under age 30 will have only an ultrasound because younger, denser breasts are difficult to evaluate by mammogram.
Suspicious lumps should be biopsied. Typically, a sample of tissue is drawn through a needle. Then the tissue is studied under a microscope.
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What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
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Screening And Breast Awareness
Breast screening is a breast health check, which is an x-ray type test of your breasts that can spot cancers at an early stage when theyre too small to see or feel. Breast screening is offered to all women in the UK between the ages of 50 and 70. Its really important that you look out for your invite and attend your screening.
The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it. Therefore, it is vitally important that you regularly check your breasts, work out what is normal for you and keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you notice anything unusual, the first step is to visit your GP.
Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast
A cancer might cause your breast to look bigger or have a different shape than usual, it might feel different.
Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender just before their period.
It can help to be breast aware. This means getting to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts.
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Lobular Carcinoma In Situ
- LCIS usually does not cause a lump. Its often diagnosed when a woman is being checked for another breast problem nearby.
- Most of the time LCIS does not need treatment, but in some cases a doctor will recommend surgery.
- LCIS increases the risk of breast cancer. Women with LCIS should talk to their health care provider about being screened more often, and/or trying to lower their risk through lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.
How Might Pain Affect People With Cancer
Any type of pain, not just cancer pain, can affect all parts of a personâs life. Some days it may be better or worse than others.
If you have pain, you might not be able to do your job well or take part in other day-to-day activities. You may have trouble sleeping and eating. You might be irritable with the people you love. Its easy to get frustrated, sad, and even angry when youre in pain. Family and friends dont always understand how youre feeling, and you may feel very alone. This is not unusual, so itâs important to talk about your pain with your health care team so they can help.
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Breast Lumps And Pain Medications
When nonmedical treatment fails to control cyclic breast pain, your health care professional may prescribe birth control pills or danazol . Be sure to ask about possible side effects of these medications and report them to your doctor if you experience them.
- Many other drugs have been tried in the treatment of cyclic breast pain and have been found not to be useful or are generally not recommended because of their side effects.
- Noncyclic breast pain is managed by treating the underlying cause. If a mass or lump is found, it is checked and treated. When your breast pain is caused by chest wall tenderness, it is treated with anti-inflammatory medication or rarely by steroid injections.
- If no cause for the noncyclic pain is found, a pain treatment protocol for cyclic pain is usually tried and often found to be successful.
- For simple mastitis without an abscess, oral antibiotics are prescribed. The antibiotic chosen will depend on the clinical situation, your doctors preference, and your medication allergies, if any. This medicine is safe to use while breastfeeding and will not harm the baby.
- Chronic mastitis in nonbreastfeeding women is more complicated. Recurrent episodes of mastitis are common. Occasionally this type of infection responds poorly to antibiotics. Therefore, close follow-up with your doctor is mandatory.
Myth : Women With Lumpy Breast Tissue Have Dense Breasts
False. Lumpy breast tissue has nothing to do with breast density, Dr. Pederson says. Your breasts can feel lumpy but not appear dense on a mammogram.
Nearly one in two women have dense breast tissue, indicated by the amount of milk glands and ducts and supportive tissue, which appear solid white on a mammogram. Because cancer can appear the same way, women with dense breasts may choose to have 3D mammography for better cancer detection and fewer false positives. Women at high risk may qualify for MRI screening.
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Is Breast Pain A Sign Of Cancer
Sarah Harding, former singer of the group Girls Aloud, recently shared details surrounding her devastating breast cancer diagnosis aged 39 with The Times. Sarah disclosed that she had a painful lump prior to seeing a GP, which later revealed she had breast cancer.
Sarahs story not only raised vital awareness of breast cancer, but also raised questions over breast pain and its relationship with breast cancer.
This is a question that is asked a lot, so we reached out to breast surgeon James Harvey for his thoughts. It probably wont surprise you that there is a short answer and a long answer.
What Kind Of Lumps Are Normal In Breasts
Because benign tumors make up the vast majority of breast lumps, there is a strong probability that this one is not malignant. It is not abnormal for breast tissue to have a lumpy or dense appearance. To become familiar with your breast tissue and determine what is typical for you, it is recommended that you do regular breast exams.
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Swelling In Or Around Your Breast Collarbone Or Armpit
Swelling in these areas can occur for many reasons but may indicate cancer. Breast swelling can be caused by certain types of breast cancer. Swelling or lumps around your collarbone or armpits can be caused by breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in those areas. The swelling can occur even before you can feel a lump in your breast. If you have swelling, be sure to let your health care team know as soon as possible.
What Medical Treatments Are There For Breast Lumps And Pain
- When your breast pain is severe enough to interfere with your lifestyle and when it occurs for more than a few days each month, you may be treated with medications.
- Before treatment is begun, document the frequency and severity of your pain on a daily basis for at least one to two menstrual cycles.
- This pain diary will also help check your response to treatment.
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Nipple Retraction Or Inversion
Breast cancer can cause cell changes behind the nipple. These changes can result in the nipple inverting and reversing inward into the breast, or it may look different in terms of its size.
The appearance of the nipples can often alter during ovulation or other parts of the menstrual cycle, but people should see a doctor about any new nipple changes.
How Does Breast Cancer Start
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.
Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
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When To Talk To A Doctor About Your Lumps
Diagnosing lumps and bumps on your own can be challenging. If you are worried about cancer or have a history of cancer in your family, talk to us about it and we will answer your question: when to worry about a lump under the skin?
Cancer or other serious lumps will have these signs:
- Firm/hard to the touch
- Uneven surface
- New lump
One of my patients, Calla, agreed to share her experience when she presented with a similar complaint.
Does Breast Cancer Hurt To Touch
Alterations in the breasts skin cells can be brought on by breast cancer, and these changes can bring about sensations of pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast.It is imperative that any signs or symptoms that could be due to breast cancer not be disregarded, despite the fact that breast cancer is frequently asymptomatic.A searing sensation is one way that some individuals have described the agony.
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Where Can Breast Cancer Spread
The most common places for breast cancer to spread to are the lymph nodes, bone, liver, lungs and brain. The symptoms you may experience will depend on where in the body the cancer has spread to. You might not have all of the symptoms mentioned here.
Remember other conditions can cause these symptoms. They donât necessarily mean that you have cancer that has spread. But if you have symptoms that you are worried about, discuss them with your GP, cancer specialist, or breast care nurse so that you can be checked.
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Myth : If A Breast Lump Is Movable Its Not Cancer
Actually, breast cancers almost always begin in a movable state, Dr. Pederson says. Its not until they grow larger that they attach to something and stop moving.
You should tell your doctor about any lump you feel in your breast.
When doing a self-exam, feel around your breasts for something hard that doesnt belong there, Dr. Pederson says. It may feel like a frozen pea or lima bean, or be smooth and very firm, like a marble.
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Signs Of Cancerous Breast Tumors
Though most breast lumps are benign, some do turn out to be cancerous. If a tumor is cancerous, it will continue to grow and invade normal nearby tissue. If it isnt treated, it can spread to other areas in the body.
Most cancerous breast tumors first appear as single, hard lumps or thickening under the skin. Other signs to watch for include a change in nipple appearance, nipple secretions, nipple tenderness, and a dimpling or puckering of the skin.
About half of cancerous breast lumps appear in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast, extending into the armpit. About 18 percent of breast cancer tumors show up in the nipple area. Around 11 percent are found in the lower quadrant, and 6 percent are located in the lower, inner quadrant.
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Most Breast Pain Is Benign
Breast pain, or mastalgia, is uncommon with breast cancer. Most of the time, breast pain happens along with your menstrual cycle, but it can also be linked to benign nonhormonal causes. Other benign conditions that can cause breast pain include breast cysts, fibroadenomas, or blocked milk ducts. And even though the pain with these conditions can be troubling, it is not usually dangerous.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast pain can be a symptom of cancer. If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are
- New lump in the breast or underarm .
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.