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Does Your Breast Hurt When You Have Breast Cancer

Surgery For Breast Cancer

Do Mammograms Have To Hurt?

Most women with breast cancer have some type of surgery. Common types of breast surgery are lumpectomy, mastectomy, and taking out lymph nodes from the underarm. Women who have a mastectomy may also decide to have the breast shape rebuilt, either at the same time or later on.

Choosing between lumpectomy and mastectomy

Lumpectomy only takes out the lump and a little bit around it. It lets you keep most of your breast. The downside is that youll most likely need radiation treatment after surgery. But some women who have a mastectomy also need radiation afterward.

When choosing between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, be sure to get all the facts. At first you may think that a mastectomy is the best way to get it all out. Some women tend to choose mastectomy because of this. But in most cases, lumpectomy is just as good as mastectomy. Talk to your cancer care team. Learn as much as you can to make the right choice for you.

Reconstructive surgery

If you have a mastectomy, you may want to think about having your breast shape rebuilt. This is called breast reconstruction. Its not done to treat the cancer. Its done to build a breast shape that looks a lot like your natural breast.

If youre going to have a mastectomy and are thinking about having reconstruction, you should talk to a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy is done. Your breast can be rebuilt at the same time the mastectomy is done or later on.

Side effects of surgery

How Your Breast Normally Feels

Texture of breasts can vary from person to person but generally feels firm to fatty with a slight rope-like consistency with minor nodular consistency. The main tissue is fatty and soft. Breast tissue changes through hormone cycles, often becoming swollen and tender during menstrual cycles. As age progresses, breasts increase in fat and often become larger. When irregular lumps form and painful lump in breast becomes an issue, doctor exams will help ensure the tissue remains healthy and disease is avoided.

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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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

Are Lumpy Breasts A Risk For Breast Cancer

Does an Irregular Lump Mean That You Have Breast Cancer?

Lumpy breasts dont seem to raise a womans risk of breast cancer, though they can make it hard to find a cancer that has developed. And while four out of five breast lumps turn out not to be cancerous, its always good to err on the side of caution and check with a doctor about any breast lump you notice.

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Breast Or Nipple Pain

Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that lead to feelings of pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast. Although breast cancer is often painless, it is important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that could be due to breast cancer.

Some people may describe the pain as a burning sensation.

Medical Determinants Of Asp

In our study, a higher breast cancer stage at diagnosis was the most important determinant of self-reporting an ASP. In contrast to HICs where most women have an early stage diagnosis, late stage diagnosis for breast cancer is common in SSA due to low breast cancer awareness among both women and healthcare professionals, and long delays to presentation of symptomatic women to a healthcare provider, final diagnosis and treatment initiation, with disadvantaged populations being particularly affected . In our cohort, three quarters of women had a late stage breast cancer at diagnosis, with nearly half having a tumour size over five centimetres and about two thirds positive lymph nodes at diagnosis. It is plausible that, the larger tumours, and the increased number of affected lymph nodes in women with an advanced breast cancer, may have favoured ASP development, including prior to receiving treatment .

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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.

Lymph Node Surgery For Breast Cancer

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If breast cancer spreads, it typically goes first to nearby lymph nodes under the arm. It can also sometimes spread to lymph nodes near the collarbone or near the breastbone . Knowing if the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes helps doctors find the best way to treat your cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, its important to find out how far the cancer has spread. To help find out if the cancer has spread outside the breast, one or more of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed and checked in the lab. This is an important part of staging. If the lymph nodes have cancer cells, there is a higher chance that cancer cells have also spread to other parts of the body. More imaging tests might be done if this is the case.

Lymph node removal can be done in different ways, depending on whether any lymph nodes are enlarged, how big the breast tumor is, and other factors.

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Management Of Ductal Carcinoma

Two types of breast canceraffect the ducts, known as ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma. Both types are similar, but ductal carcinoma in situ is non-invasive and confined to its original site, while invasive ductal carcinoma is not limited to the ducts. In most cases, a woman with DCIS can choose between breast-conserving surgery and simple mastectomy. BCS is usually followed by radiation therapy. Lymph node removal is not always needed. It may be done if the doctor thinks the area of DCIS may also contain invasive cancer. The risk of an area of DCIS containing invasive cancer goes up with tumor size and nuclear grade, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the case of invasive ductal carcinoma, patients may need surgery to remove the breast tumor and observe if the disease has reached the lymph nodes. There are two main types of surgery for breast cancer, mastectomy being the most aggressive and breast-conserving surgery the least. Radiation therapy is also an option, since the high-energy rays can reach the breast, chest area, under the arm, and/or the collarbone area, which can be particularly helpful in patients whose cancer has spread. This type of treatment may be administered as external beam radiation, internal partial-breast irradiation, or external partial-breast irradiation.

Breast Pain And Breast Cancer In Men

As with breast cancer in women, breast cancer in men is often painless. That said, it tends to press on nearby structures sooner than a tumor would in most women. In addition, hormone-induced breast pain is also less likely to occur in men. If you are a man experiencing breast pain, play it safe. Breast cancer can and does occur in men. In fact, 1 in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States is in a man.

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What If I’m Still Worried

Sometimes these tips won’t help you feel better. Maybe the pain is a little sharper this time, or maybe it lasted longer than usual, or maybe you just want to get it checked out. You don’t need to sit at home and worry visit your doctor.

Let your doctor know about your concerns. The doctor sees patients all the time for things that may seem silly, but if you’re worried, then it’s not dumb. Although you may feel a little embarrassed to ask about breast pain or about a lump, there’s no need to. A breast exam is a quick and painless procedure. And it can help you find that your aches are completely normal.

A Lump In Your Breast

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A lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Lumps are often hard and painless, although some are painful. However, not all lumps are cancer. Benign breast conditions that can also cause lumps.

Still, its important to have your doctor check out any new lump or mass right away. If it does turn out to be cancer, the sooner its diagnosed the better.

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Can Lymphoma Of The Skin Be Found Early

This type of lymphoma first appears in the skin, so it is usually found earlier in the course of the disease than many other types of cancer. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard even for experienced doctors to diagnose skin lymphomas right away because they often look like other, more common skin problems such as infections or eczema.

Breast Lumps Or Lumpiness

Many women find their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture.

Some women have more lumpiness in their breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then its likely normal breast tissue.

Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast or that feel like a change should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition .

See a health care provider if you:

  • Find a new lump that feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Find a new lump that feels different from your other breast
  • Feel something thats different from what you felt before

If youve had a benign lump in the past, dont assume a new lump will also be benign. The new lump may not be breast cancer, but its best to make sure.

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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.

Pain Common One Year After Breast Cancer Surgery

Ask Mayo Clinic: Breast Cancer

Journal of the American Medical AssociationPain at 12 Months After Surgery for Breast Cancer.

  • 54% of the women took hormonal therapy before surgery
  • 62% of the women had lumpectomy
  • 38% of the women had mastectomy
  • 48% of the women had axillary lymph node dissection
  • 52% of the women had sentinel node biopsy
  • 57% of the women had chemotherapy after surgery
  • 73% of the women had radiation therapy after surgery
  • 68% of the women took hormonal therapy after surgery about half the women took tamoxifen and about half took an aromatase inhibitor
  • 75% of the women were older than 50
  • about 7% of the women were suffering from depression
  • 24% of the women had pain problems before surgery, including pain from fibromyalgia and low back pain
  • 34.5% of the women said they had no pain
  • 49.7% of the women said they had mild pain
  • 12.1% of the women said they had moderate pain
  • 3.7% of the women said they had severe pain
  • preoperative pain problems
  • preoperative pain in the area where breast cancer surgery would take place
  • preoperative depression

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How Breast Cancer Pain May Feel

While many types of breast pain are not cancerous, pain in only one breast may be cause for calling your doctor. Benign breast pain is often on both sides.

Breast cancer pain can be persistent and very specific, usually hurting in just one spot. It is important to remember that breast cancer can be present in your breast before it causes pain. If you have other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple retraction , sudden swelling of your breast, or sudden skin changes, consult your healthcare provider for a clinical breast exam.

My Breast Is Tender But I Don’t Feel A Lump Am I Normal

Many women who experience uncommon breast pain immediately think of breast cancer. Dr. Kirtly Jones says its probably something else. She explains what can cause breast pain in women of different ages and the most important thing to do if one or more of your breasts feels tender.

Interviewer: So your breasts are feeling kind of tender and they sort of hurt, is it a normal situation? We’re going to talk about that next on The Scope.

Announcer: Questions every woman wonders about her health, body, and mind. This is “Am I Normal?” on The Scope.

Interviewer: Dr. Jones the situation is I’m not breastfeeding but my breasts are kind of tender. They kind of hurt but they’ve been hurting from maybe two weeks now. There’s not really any lump on it that I can feel and I know there’s not a history of breast cancer in my family is this a normal situation?

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Limited Arm And Shoulder Movement

You might also have limited movement in your arm and shoulder after surgery. This is more common after ALND than SLNB. Your doctor may advise exercises to help keep you from having long-lasting problems .

Some women notice a rope-like structure that begins under the arm and can extend down toward the elbow. This is sometimes called axillary web syndrome or lymphatic cording. It is more common after ALND than SLNB. Symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months after surgery. It can cause pain and limit movement of the arm and shoulder. This often goes away without treatment, although some women may find physical therapy helpful.

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Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer

8 Breast Cancer Signs to Look For

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.

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How Is Breast Pain Diagnosed

Before performing a breast exam, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, how long youve been experiencing them and the severity and frequency of your pain. During the breast exam, they’ll examine your breasts for any possible lumps. They may also ask you to lean forward during the exam to assess whether the pain is coming from your breast or from inside your chest. Your doctor may also order a mammogram or an ultrasound, but whether or not you need either of these imaging tests will depend on a few different factors, including:

  • Your specific type of pain.
  • The findings from the breast exam.
  • Your age.
  • The length of time between your last breast-imaging procedure.


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