What Causes Cancer Pain
There are a number of different causes of cancer pain. For example, the pain can stem from a tumor itself or the damage that it has caused the surrounding tissue or organs. For example, deep pain can occur in the bones from a tumor placing pressure on the bone, and burning pain can occur when a tumor presses against a nerve.
There is also discomfort and pain associated with many cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. In some cases, the pain you experience is associated with nerve damage. The nerves can be damaged during treatment or from the cancer itself. Additionally, nerves could be signaling the brain that damage is either occurring or could occur. Nerve damage typically cant be reversed and causes chronic pain.
What Is Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops from cells of the breast. Before puberty, girls and boys alike have a small amount of breast tissue with a few ducts located under the nipple and areola. Hormonal changes at puberty cause girls breasts to grow. Male breast tissue does not increase as it does in females after puberty.
The breast tissues contain ducts and may contain a few lobules . Mens breast duct cells can become cancerous like any other cell of the body. This disease is less common in men than in women because mens breast ducts are less developed.
Causes and risk factors of male breast cancer
The cause of breast cancer in men is not clear. However, there are risk factors that make breast cancer more likely in men:
- Most breast lumps in men are caused by gynecomastia , which is an enlargement of the breast resulting from hormonal imbalance
- Exposure to radiation
- High estrogenic levels due to factors, such as heavy drinking,;cirrhosis, obesity, and some medicines that were used to treat;prostate cancer, may sometimes cause hormonal imbalance leading to breast cancer
- Heredity, such as a family history of breast cancer or mutated;BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene in the family
- Certain genetic disorders, such as;Klinefelter syndrome
- Older age, men are often diagnosed with breast cancer between ages of 60 to 70 years
Stages of male breast cancer
Treatment options for male breast cancer
Your Boobs Look Really Veiny
Being able to see your veins on the surface of your breasts depends on a lot of thingsskin color, amount of subcutaneous fat, pregnancy, geneticsbut you should be paying attention to those squiggly blue or green lines as changes in their appearance can be an early sign of breast cancer, Dr. Ross says.
Being veiny in general is nothing to be concerned about, but if youve never been able to see them before and now you can, or if theyve suddenly become much bigger, darker, or more prominent, then its time to be concerned. Visible veins can indicate the presence of a tumor as they require more blood flow and therefore more veins, she explains. Or the tumor may be blocking the blood flow, causing the veins nearby to swell.
Don’t Miss: Can I Have Breast Cancer At 16
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Vs Cysts
Early breast cancer has no symptoms. It is usually not painful.
Most breast cancer is discovered before symptoms are present, either by finding an abnormality on mammography or feeling a breast lump. A lump in the armpit or above the collarbone that does not go away may be a sign of cancer. Other possible symptoms are breast discharge, nipple inversion, or changes in the skin overlying the breast.
- Most breast lumps are not cancerous. All breast lumps, however, need to be evaluated by a doctor.
- Breast discharge is a common problem. Discharge is most concerning if it is from only one breast or if it is bloody. In any case, all breast discharge should be evaluated.
- Nipple inversion is a common variant of normal nipples, but nipple inversion that is a new development needs to be of concern.
- Changes in the skin of the breast include redness, changes in texture, and puckering. These changes are usually caused by skin diseases but occasionally can be associated with breast cancer.
You’ve Got Painful Swelling
Swollen and painful breasts are, well, a pain, and while they’re mainly due to hormonal changes , they can be linked to breast cancer.
It’s all about the size and placement of the tumor, says Dr. Patt, which can be responsible for a change in the size or shape of your breast, or cause of painful swelling. While the vast majority of women who report breast pain do not have cancer, if breast pain and swelling aren’t linked to your menstrual cycle, you’re not breastfeeding, and it appears suddenly or doesn’t go away, give your doctor a call because whatever is happening needs to be addressed, adds Dr. Patt.
You May Like: What Does It Feel Like To Have Breast Cancer
Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
Other Types Of Breast Cancer
Other less common types of breast cancer include invasive lobular breast cancer, which develops in the cells that line the milk-producing lobules, inflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease of the breast.
It’s possible for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph nodes or the bloodstream. If this happens, it’s known as “secondary” or “metastatic” breast cancer.
Read Also: Are Breast Cancer Lumps Hard Or Soft
What Do Male Breast Cancer Lumps Feel Like
A lump-like swelling in the breast that may or may not be painful is the most common symptom of male breast cancer. A lump or thickening may be near the breast or in the underarm area. One side of the chest may appear bulkier than the other. Although most men diagnosed with breast cancer are older than 65 years, breast cancer can appear in younger men. Other common signs and symptoms may include:
- A change in the size or shape of the nipples
- Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt
- A dimple or puckering in the skin around the nipple
- A nipple turned inward
- Fluid;discharge from the nipple, especially if it’s bloody
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or;areola;
- Dimples in the breast that looks like the skin of an orange, called;peau dorange
- Sometimes breast cancer can spread and cause swelling;under the arm or around the collar bone even before the original tumor in the breast becomes big enough to be felt
Pain: Obvious Symptom That Cancer Can Cause
Pain is an indicator of something being wrong with the usual cause being an injury or an illness. In either case, the nervous system notifies the brain of a problem by sending a pain signal through the nerves. When the signal is received, the pain is felt. Every kind of pain is transmitted in the same manner, including pain due to cancer. As not every type of cancer causes similar pain, the type of pain you feel can give an indication about a broad cancer type at least. For instance:
- Deep, aching pain. Deep and aching pain is usually caused by a tumor that is present close to the bones or that grows into the bones. This kind of pain caused by cancer is mostly bone pain.
- Burningpain. Burning pain is caused by tumors that press on parts of nerves. Cancer treatments like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can sometimes damage nerves and give rise to a burning feeling.
- Phantompain. Phantom pain is the sensation of pain in an area where a body part, like a breast or an arm, has been removed. The pain is felt even though there is no body part because of the nerve endings in the region continue to send the pain signals to the brain.
Going into further detail, the region of pain can give a good idea about the type of cancer. For example:
You May Like: What Chemo Drugs Are Used For Triple Negative Breast Cancer
How Are Breast Lumps Treated
Treatment for a breast lump depends on the cause. Some lumps dont require any treatment.
Breast lump treatment includes:
- Antibiotics for a breast infection.
- Fluid drainage for a breast cyst .
- Excisional biopsy to remove a mass .
- Cancer treatment if the lump is biopsy-proven breast cancer. Cancer therapies may include lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
When To Contact A Doctor
A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms that may indicate breast cancer. Most lumps are not cancerous, but a doctor can help rule this out.
Screening can help detect changes before a lump becomes noticeable. At this stage, breast cancer is easier to treat.
Current guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend that females speak with a doctor about breast cancer screening from the age of 40 years. They also recommend that females at average risk of breast cancer have a mammogram every 2 years from 5074 years of age.
People with a higher risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer, may need more regular screening.
It is worth noting that different authorities, such as the
Also Check: What Are Tumor Markers For Breast Cancer
What Do Breast Lumps Feel Like
How breast lumps feel depends on their cause, location, and growth. They can vary from painful, hard, and immobile to soft, painless, and easily moveable.
Lumps are most likely to be cancerous if they do not cause pain and are hard, unevenly shaped, and immobile.
Other breast lumps can feel different:
- Fibroadenoma lumps tend to be painless, easily movable, smooth, and rounded. They may disappear on their own.
- Breast cysts are smooth but firm.
- Breast abscesses and mastitis usually cause painful, swollen lumps, and there may also be a fever and flushing around the affected skin.
How Are Fibroadenomas Diagnosed And Treated
Your healthcare provider may diagnose this type of lump simply by feeling it. But, he or she will want to confirm the diagnosis with a mammogram or ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration. Sometimes, in very young women, the fibroadenoma is not removed. However, since sometimes these tumors enlarge with pregnancy and breastfeeding, your provider may suggest having it surgically removed.
While most fibroadenomas do not lead to cancer, there is a type of fibroadenoma that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly in women with a family history of the disease.
Also Check: Can Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer
How To Make Breast Self
Make it routine. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
Get to know your breasts’ different neighborhoods. The upper, outer area near your armpit tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.
Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is normal for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle .
Learn more about Breastcancer.org’s recommendations on when to begin annual mammograms.
Which Breast Lumps Should Women Worry About
Breast lumps are frightening, but fairly common. And while you already know that a lump could potentially signal breast cancer, you’ve probably also heard that most lumps are noncancerous, or benign.
So how can you tell if a breast lump needs to be checked out by a doctor?
“All breast lumps need to be evaluated by a physician, regardless of your age or where in your breast you feel the lump,” says Dr. Joshi. “More often than not, breast lumps are harmless. But, any lump could potentially be breast cancer, and it’s impossible for a woman to determine whether her lump is cancerous or benign just by feeling it.”
That being said, Dr. Joshi says that there are some features that make a lump particularly concerning, including:
- Changes in the skin over the lump
- Nipple changes, including enlargement or bloody discharge
- Changes in the size of the lump
“Additionally, having a family history of breast cancer makes it more likely that a lump could be cancerous,” warns Dr. Joshi.
Read Also: How Do You Check For Male Breast Cancer
‘it Felt Like There Was A Marble In My Breast’
I had fibrous breasts, so even on a good day, my breasts felt like a bag of frozen peas. I had been receiving Bright Pinks Breast Health reminder texts;to check my breasts, so I was pretty familiar with how my breasts felt. However one day I felt a lump in my left breast near my nipple, which seemed to be the size of a marble or gumball. This lump felt different. It was hard, but had a bit of a give to it.
“From the moment I felt the lump, I knew I had breast cancer. I went in that day for an appointment with my gynecologist,;who ordered a mammogram for later that afternoon. After that, I had a core needle biopsy, but the tests all came back negative. I never felt relieved or satisfied with that result.
“At a later breast check, I felt the lump had grown, so I insisted my gynecologist help me find a surgeon to remove the lump. It was removed and I was told it was stage 2, aggressive triple negative breast cancer. I also discovered I was BRCA-1 positive, meaning I had the breast cancer gene. I cant stress it enough, listen to your body!
Erin Scheithe, DC Education Ambassador for;Bright Pink, Washington, D.C.
Or Your Nipples Are Leaking
Is there anything more alarming than having your breasts start squirting liquid when there’s 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 it’s red or green or has an odormight mean you have a problem, including cancer of the breast or the pituitary gland, Dr. Patt explains.
You May Like: What Is The Name Of The Breast Cancer Gene
‘i Noticed What Felt Like A Frozen Pea In My Armpit’
During a routine breast self-exam, I felt a really tiny lump. It didnt hurt, but it was mobile and felt like a frozen pea. It was right inside my armpit, which seemed odd at first, but I remembered that your breast tissue actually extends into your armpit. This didnt feel consistent with the breast changes that came along with my menstrual cycle.
“I actually kept quite calm, even though in my gut, I knew what was going on. So I called my ob-gyn, who offered to take a look during my next annual exam, which was months away. After nothing changed in a week, I called the breast center at my local hospital and demanded to be seen. After imaging and biopsies, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24.
“From my experience, I hope that other women will learn that you need to monitor changes in your body, but its futile if youre afraid to speak up about them. Women need to have the confidence to speak up.
Brittany Whitman, Cleveland Education Ambassador for;Bright Pink
You Notice Dimply Scaly Patchy Or Inflamed Skin
You know your boobs and all their little quirks so if you notice any changes to their normal appearance, pay attention, says Debra Patt, MD, OB-GYN, and breast cancer expert with Texas Oncology, a practice in the US Oncology Network.
“Any unusual thickening, redness, rash, dimpling, or puckering of your breast skin, or around the nipple, should be checked out by your doctor,” she explains.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Prognosis For Metastatic Breast Cancer