What Does Shoulder Blade Pain Feel Like When Its Related To Breast Cancer
The type of pain you feel usually depends on whats causing it. Some people have shoulder pain due to nerve damage from radiation therapy or a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or lymph node removal.
If you have neuropathic pain, you may feel a shooting or burning sensation. Some people describe the discomfort as an intense tingling or itching feeling.
You might also experience sharp pain when you try to move your arms up or down. This pain can be accompanied by swelling, stiffness, or numbness.
If your pain is caused by cancer that has spread , it might feel like a deep, dull ache in your joints or bones. Pain near your right shoulder blade could mean that your liver is involved.
You may also feel depressed or anxious, and your sleep may be disrupted as a result of your pain. Not getting enough sleep may make your pain feel even worse.
Your shoulder is a complex, interconnected group of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. These structures work together to align your posture and help you move your arms.
Your scapula serves several important functions:
- It cups the ball-shaped end of the humerus bone in your upper arm.
- It serves as an attachment plate for several muscles and ligaments.
- It moves in several directions as you use your arms, providing stability and flexibility.
Other treatments damage the nerves around your shoulder blade, causing long-lasting pain in your shoulders, arms, hands, and feet.
Breast Or Nipple Pain As A Symptom Of Breast Cancer
Breast or nipple pain is a feeling of discomfort, tenderness, or affliction in any part of the breast or underarm region. It may occur for;numerous reasons, and is;usually not related to cancer. Although many women with pain in one or both breasts may be concerned that it is breast cancer, breast pain is NOT commonly a;symptom;of cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation;reports. There are a number of harmless causes for breast pain and tenderness that may primarily be related to changes in hormone levels.
Causes of;breast or nipple pain include puberty, menstruation and premenstrual syndrome , pregnancy, recent;childbirth, menopause,;fibrocystic breasts,;or the use of certain;medications. When breast or nipple pain is related to cancer, it;is the result of;some degree of inflammation. Patients should consult with a;healthcare provider when breast or nipple pain is accompanied by other symptoms, including a breast lump or mass, swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple retraction, nipple discharge other than breast milk, or redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCA® hospitals, located across the nation, our cancer experts are devoted to a single missiontreating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision. Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and coordinated by a registered oncology nurse, who helps track the various appointments, follow up on tests and answer questions that come up along the way. Your care team also may include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with advanced training in helping patients restore function and appearance. Fertility preservation and genetic testing;are also available for qualifying patients who need them.
Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat different types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ;to complex diseases such as triple-negative;and inflammatory breast cancer. As part of our patient-centered care model, which is designed to help you keep strong during treatment, your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive therapies, such as naturopathic support, psychosocial support, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy;and pain management. The entire team works together with a whole-person focus, which is at the heart of our centers dedication to personalized and comprehensive care.
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Why Am I Experiencing Sexual Side Effects With Breast Cancer
They may be treatment side effects. Many of the treatments that we use for breast cancer put women into menopause or intensify menopausal symptoms if theyve already gone through it, says Sharon Bober, PhD, director of the Sexual Health Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Thats because these treatments block estrogen, resulting in:
- Vaginal dryness
- Dampened enjoyment
- Pain during sex
If youre experiencing sexual side effects that are interfering with intimacy, communicate openly with your partner. If youve never had to talk about your sex life before, you may not be sure how to start the conversation. Take your time and say to your partner, I know things arent the way that they used to be. Can we find some time to talk about it? Bober says.
Figure out what challenges you want to work on, and look at them from a whole-body perspective, she says.
Diet And Lifestyle Changes
Your GP may suggest some things you can try which might help reduce pain, but theres limited evidence to show these work. These include:
- eating a low-fat diet;
- increasing the amount of fibre you eat
- reducing caffeine and alcohol
Wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra during the day, during any physical activity and at night can be helpful.;
Relaxation and complementary therapies;
Some women have found relaxation therapy useful in reducing their symptoms of cyclical breast pain, such as relaxation CDs or apps, or other complementary therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy.;
If your pain started when you began taking a contraceptive pill, changing to a different pill may help. If the pain continues, you may want to try a non-hormone method of contraception such as condoms, a non-hormonal coil or a cap .;
If your pain started or increased while taking HRT and doesnt settle after a short time, tell your GP.;
Evening primrose or starflower oil
Theres evidence that having low levels of an essential fatty acid called GLA can contribute to cyclical breast pain. However, research has shown that taking additional GLA doesnt always help the pain. Despite this, your GP may suggest that you try evening primrose or starflower oil , as some women have found it helps them to feel better generally. Your GP will tell you how much to take and for how long.;
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Cancer Tumors Versus Cysts And Fibroadenomas
Cysts, which are fluid-filled lumps, are common in the breast and are benign. They form when fluid builds up inside breast glands, and tend to be smooth or round. Fibroadenomas, which are benign tumors made up of glandular and connective breast tissue, are usually smooth and firm or rubbery to the touch. Both of these conditions tend to affect younger women; fibroadenomas are most common in women in their 20s and 30s, and cysts are most common in women under 40.
Despite these common descriptions, it is impossible to tell by touch whether a lump is cancer.
Sore Breasts Before Your Period
One symptom of premenstrual syndrome is the swelling and tenderness of the breasts. Pain can range in severity, though its usually on the lower end of the spectrum.
What causes it?;During the hormonal changes cause by menstruation, oestrogen activates the breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone triggers the milk glands to swell . How can you ease breast pain before your period? If youre finding that over-the-counter painkillers arent working for this cyclical type of breast pain, you should see your GP for more options. Your doctor might recommend diuretics or oral contraceptives to help ease more severe pre-period breast pain.
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Types Of Breast Cancer
There are two categories that reflect the nature of breast cancer:
- Noninvasive cancer is cancer that hasnt spread from the original tissue. This is referred to as stage 0.
- Invasive cancer is cancer thats spread to surrounding tissues. These are categorized as stages 1, 2, 3, or 4.
The tissue affected determines the type of cancer:
- Ductal carcinoma is a cancer that forms in the lining of the milk ducts. This is the most common type of breast cancer.
- Lobular carcinoma is cancer in the lobules of the breast. The lobules are where milk is produced.
- Sarcoma is cancer in the breasts connective tissue. This is a rare type of breast cancer.
When you visit your doctor with concerns about breast pain, tenderness, or a lump, there are common tests they might perform.
Does Breast Pain Indicate Breast Cancer
While breast pain can indicate breast cancer, it is not a common symptom of breast cancer. However, pain with other symptoms like nipple discharge, lumps, thickening of the skin, change in size or shape, or changes in texture or appearance of the skin should be evaluated by your primary care physician as they could indicate cancer or other, benign problems.
If you experience any of these symptoms, including breast pain, contact your primary care physician.
Of course, breast cancer doesnt always show symptoms. Its possible for a woman to have breast cancer without even knowing it. Thats why screening is so important in preventing breast cancer. The Breast Center recommends annual screening mammograms starting at age 40.
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How Breast Cancer Pain May Feel
If breast cancer is the cause of breast pain, it will often be present in only one breast, whereas benign breast pain is often on both sides.;;
Breast cancer pain can be persistent and very specific, usually hurting in just one spot. But, 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 doctor for a clinical breast exam.
Breast Pain: 10 Reasons Your Breasts May Hurt
Most women experience some form of breast pain at one time or another. Breast pain is typically easy to treat, but on rarer occasions it can be a sign of something more serious.
Medical director of the;Suburban Hospital;Breast Center;Pamela Wright, M.D., discusses the most common causes of;breast pain , their treatments and when to see a doctor:
Hormones are making your breasts sore.
Hormonal fluctuations are the number one reason women have breast pain. Breasts become sore three to five days prior to the beginning of a menstrual period and stop hurting after it starts. This is due to a rise in estrogen and progesterone right before your period. These hormones cause your breasts to swell and can lead to tenderness.
Its normal to have breast tenderness that comes and goes around the time of your period, says Wright. Its nothing to worry about.
If you become pregnant, your breasts may remain sore during the first trimester as hormone production ramps up. Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women.
Steps you can take to minimize sore breasts include:
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Statistics On Breast Cancer & Pain
A breast tumora hard clump of breast cancer cellsusually doesn’t usually cause breast pain unless it reaches the size of two centimeters in diameter or greater. But a tumor can be larger than two centimeters and still not cause pain.
In fact,only about 5% to 15% of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer complain of breast pain. Only 7% of those diagnosed with breast cancer seek a doctor because of breast pain, excluding other symptoms.
Are You Having Regular Periods
Dr. Jones: Okay you’re 24 and are you having regular periods?
Dr. Jones: Okay, and when you say your breasts, you put that as more than one breast, so both sides are normal?
Interviewer: Let’s say the left side.
Dr. Jones: Okay it’s only one breast?
Interviewer: Yeah the left sides kind of tender and I’m not really sure what’s going on. I know I didn’t hit it with anything.
Dr. Jones: Okay, but you think you didn’t?
Interviewer: I think I didn’t.
Dr. Jones: You don’t remember that you did?
Interviewer: I don’t remember.
Dr. Jones: All right and when was your last period?
Interviewer: A month ago.
Dr. Jones: Okay, so it turns out that breast tenderness is common and it’s often concerning because people think, “Is it a hormonal disorder?” Or clearly there worried about whether it’s cancer. So first of all, when women complain of breast tenderness the first thing we’re going to see if how old they are. So new breast tenderness in a 70-year-old is more concerning than breast tenderness in a 24-year-old.
Interviewer: How so?
Dr. Jones: Well because breast tenderness in a 70-year-old, those women are not having any hormonal fluctuations. So they don’t have the rise and fall of hormones every month that make their breasts more swollen some times of the month than others.
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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.
Why Do My Breasts Hurt
Breast pain is very common in women of all ages.
Having painful, sore or tender breasts can cause a lot of anxiety. But on its own, pain in the breasts isn’t usually a sign of breast cancer.;
Many women experience breast pain as part of their normal menstrual cycle . This is called cyclical breast pain.
Lasting pain in the breast thats not related to periods is known as non-cyclical breast pain.
Sometimes pain that feels as though it’s in the breast is coming from somewhere else, such as a pulled muscle in the chest. This is known as chest wall pain.;
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Breast Upper Back Or Shoulder Pain
It is normal to experience some breast pain around the time of your period, due to hormonal changes. Breast pain may also be a sign of breast cancer, especially if it lasts for more than a few weeks. Pain from breast cancer is most likely to appear in the breasts, underarm, or collarbone. It is also possible for pain to appear in the upper back or shoulder.
Some patients assume theyve pulled a muscle in their shoulder when they have breast cancer. This pain can be due to metastasis, which is when cancer spreads from one part of the body to another. Shoulder and upper back pain are very common and usually dont mean a patient has breast cancer. If youve had shoulder or back pain that wont go away, a doctor can screen you for cancer, along with other conditions.
Unconventional Signs Of Breast Cancer That You Must Know About
Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.
The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.
Its important to have a firm grasp of bodily knowledge, as the earliest stages of breast cancer usually come without pain. The most common indicator is the discovery of a lump, but cancer goes through multiple progressive stages before these lumps form. It may sometimes take years for lumps to develop, so people shouldnt rely solely on lumps to indicate breast cancer, as they usually indicate an already progressive disease.
There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs arent definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. Some of the more obvious signs are:
- Change in breast structure
- Changes in the skin or nipple
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Always Seek Medical Attention Even During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The key point is that a woman should seek medical attention for any concerning lumps in her breasts, says Harold Burstein, MD, PhD, a breast oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center.
Simple imaging techniques, such as a mammogram or breast ultrasound, can usually provide reassurance that the breast lump is benign. If necessary, a breast MRI or biopsy can be used to evaluate whether the lump is cancerous.
Metastatic Breast Cancer & Pain
Metastatic breast cancer may also cause pain.;It could be from a larger tumorthese are often over two 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 in your chest, 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 the abdomen and develop jaundice .
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