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What Causes Breast Pain Besides Cancer

How To Diagnose If Breast Dimpling Is Due To Cancer

7 Things That Can Cause a Lump In Your Breasts | Signs of Breast Cancer | #DeepDives

Not all the cases of breast dimpling are caused by cancer. A few non-malignant conditions like fat necrosis to breast can also cause breast dimpling. The only way to ascertain what is causing breast dimpling is, biopsy examination of breast tissue. You should look for other changes as well in your breast tissue as well as surrounding tissues.

Once final diagnosis is made, there are a number of treatment options to address the symptoms such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and so forth

Breast cancer is a serious malignancy and it is highly recommended to detect the lesion as early as possible. Spread breast cancer awareness and support your family and loved-ones who are living with this condition.

Youve Got Painful Swelling

Swollen and painful breasts are, well, a pain, and while theyre mainly due to hormonal changes , they can be linked to breast cancer.

Its 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 arent linked to your menstrual cycle, youre not breastfeeding, and it appears suddenly or doesnt go away, give your doctor a call because whatever is happening needs to be addressed, adds Dr. Patt.

Treatment Of Breast Pain

This is usually non-surgical in nature. Treatment options may include:

  • Various medications
  • Additional Imaging Studies may be utilized to identify other causes of pain.

Our goal is to coordinate your care allowing you to get back to life. Please call us today at to schedule an appointment or ask a question. The entire Boulder Breast Center team is here to help.

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What Other Conditions Can Cause Nipple Changes

Some women naturally have inverted nipples. If your nipples were always inverted, theres no need to worry, but if theyve recently retracted, call your doctor.

An infection of the mammary ducts called mammary duct ectasia can also change your nipple orientation. This condition commonly affects women over age 50.

A milky nipple discharge is perfectly normal if youve recently given birth or if youre breastfeeding.

Even if youre not pregnant or nursing, nipple discharge is of a benign condition, such as:

  • an underactive thyroid gland
  • sores that dont heal
  • itching
  • change in skin color
  • visible veins in the breast, which can be a sign of increased blood flow to the cancer

Skin changes arent necessarily cancer, but they can sometimes warn of a rare type of breast cancer, like Paget disease or inflammatory breast cancer. Let your doctor know if your skin doesnt go back to its normal appearance within a few days.

A few other skin conditions can affect your breasts, including:

  • rashes
  • moles
  • skin infections

Skin changes such as rashes and skin infections should clear up within a few days. If they dont go away, have your doctor take a look.

When Breast Itching May Signal Cancer

8 signs and symptoms of breast cancer besides a lump

Lumps aren’t the only potential symptoms of breast cancer. Itchiness, as well as other skin changes, can signal two specific types of breast cancerinflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease.

IBC accounts for 1 percent to 5 percent of cases of breast cancer in the United States it can spread rapidly and often isn’t recognized until it reaches an advanced stage. The symptoms of Paget’s disease, which is responsible for 1 percent to 4 percent of breast cancer cases, are easily confused with eczema or skin irritation.

If you develop breast itching that lasts for longer than a few weeks and is accompanied by any of the symptoms of IBC or Paget’s symptoms that follow, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

  • Dimpling or pitting of skin

  • Breast pain

  • Swelling, thickening, or sudden growth not related to puberty or weight gain

  • Breast warmth

  • One breast feels harder than the other

  • Swelling in armpit

  • Red, thick, or crusted lesion on the nipple that resembles eczema

  • Pain and/or tingling in the nipple or areola

  • Nipple changes or deformities, such as retraction or inversion

  • Yellow or bloody discharge from nipples

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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.

Is Pain In The Breast A Sign Of Cancer

Not every pain that occurs in the breast is a sign of cancer and to be clear usually breast pain isnt a sign. There could be many reasons for breast pain unless diagnosed one should not come to any conclusion. Having an idea about, is pain in the breast a sign of cancer and what causes breast pain will save you from unwanted worries.

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What Causes Breast Pain

If your boobs hurt, your mind may jump right away to the C word. But chances are slim that breast pain is breast cancer.

Breast pain alone is rarely, rarely associated with cancer, says Monique Swain, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the breast division at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

There are two types of breast pain: Cyclical pain is associated with your period and most often affects both breasts. Noncyclical pain is due to any other reason and doesnt follow a monthly pattern. It can affect one or both breasts, all of the breast, or just part of it.

Most breast pain goes away on its own or can be easily treated. Talk to a doctor if the pain doesnt go away in a week or two or if it gets in the way of normal activities. You should also contact a doctor if you have other symptoms, including a lump thats not related to your period, discharge from your nipple, or signs of infection like redness, swelling, and warmth.

Here are some possible reasons why you have breast pain.

RELATED: 6 Causes of Lumps That Aren’t Breast Cancer

Coping With Breast Pain

What Can Cause Breast Pain?

Breast pain can be very distressing, and many women worry that they may have breast cancer. In most cases breast pain will be the result of normal changes in the breasts.

Even though you may feel reassured that your breast pain is normal and you dont have breast cancer, the pain often remains. This can be upsetting, especially if your specialist cant tell you the exact cause of your breast pain.

Women affected by breast pain may feel many different emotions, including fear, frustration or helplessness. Although understanding more about your breast pain wont cure it, it may help you to get back some control over your life.

Having severe, long-lasting breast pain can sometimes affect a womans daily activities which may cause anxiety and, for some, depression. However, this isnt the case for most women and their pain can be helped or managed.

Having breast pain doesnt increase your risk of breast cancer. However, its still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if the pain increases or changes, or you notice any other changes in your breasts.

Read Also: Can Stage 2 Breast Cancer Be Cured

Hormones And Hormone Medicine

Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, the risk is a very low one.

Contraceptive pill

Women who use the contraceptive pill have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. The risk starts to decrease once you stop taking the pill. Your risk of breast cancer is back to normal 10 years after stopping.

Breast Pain Cause By Caffeine

Non-cyclic breast pain may be due to dietary triggers including caffeine, which is found in a variety of beverages and foods and may produce severe breast pain in some women with others experiencing no effect at all. Similar variable breast sensitivity has been associated with hormonal medications, some dietary supplements, and other foods including large amounts of dietary soy. Sometimes it is just not possible to isolate a specific cause, but in each of these situations the breasts are not the source of the problem there is an external factor to which the breasts are sensitive, producing the discomfort.

If it is possible to identify and modify the trigger, the symptoms will be improved. In addition, a well-fitting supportive bra , application of cool or warm compresses for comfort, and use of ibuprofen can be helpful in managing symptoms. It is important to understand that, because this type of breast pain relates to breast tissue sensitivity, it may be uncomfortable but is not harmful.

Also Check: Hormone Negative Breast Cancer Prognosis

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Women That Arent Lumps

No need to Google early signs of breast cancer to know one of the telltale symptoms include a lump in the breast. Irregularities, like lumps and bumps, are, after all, the most common thing women are told to keep an eye and feel out for during a breast self-exam. But what about breast cancer symptoms that *arent* lumps? Theyre more common than you might realize.

A non-lump symptom was exactly what Meghan Hall, 34, discovered before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I noticed something green spilled on the front of my shirt, I didnt think anything of ituntil I tried to take it off and realized it was stuck to my nipple, Meghan told WH. My breast was leaking green fluid.

Thats right: Meghans breast cancer symptom was green fluid leaking from her nipplesand her experience isnt unique. One in six women who discovered their cancer themselves caught it based on a less-obvious breast cancer symptom, like nipple abnormalities and weight loss , according to a 2017 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

These self-reported breast cancersespecially ones that dont involve the typical lumphighlight why its so important to pay attention to any strange signs or symptoms or changes you may be experiencing, in addition to staying on top of your mammograms and annual checkups, says Neelima Denduluri, MD, the associate chair of the U.S. Oncology Network Breast Committee.

Blood And Other Tests

Breast Pain

If your healthcare provider suspects a non-breast-related source for your pain, you may need further tests. For example, if a possible lung or chest wall source, including a rib fracture, is suspected, your healthcare provider may order an X-ray of your chest.

Likewise, if your healthcare provider is worried about angina or a heart attack, they will proceed with an electrocardiogram , cardiac enzyme blood tests, and/or refer you to the emergency department.

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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 .

Fibrosis And Simple Cysts

  • Signs and symptoms can include lumps, swelling, tenderness, or pain.
  • Treatment is not needed but may be used to help ease discomfort. Options may include heating pads, supportive bras, over-the-counter pain relievers, avoiding caffeine, removing cyst fluid, and surgery.
  • This condition does not increase cancer risk.

Read Also: Invasive Metastatic Breast Cancer

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

Well-fitting bra

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.

Coping With Chest Wall Pain

Why I have breast pain?/ breast pain causes and treatment/ Is it breast cancer?

Any type of breast pain can be very distressing, and many women worry they may have breast cancer. However, in most cases pain in the breast isnt a sign of breast cancer.

Having breast pain doesnt increase your risk of breast cancer. However, its still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if the pain increases or changes, or you notice any other changes in your breasts.

Recommended Reading: Type 4 Breast Cancer

Your Nipples Have Changed

Only mannequins have perfect, pointy, well-behaved nipples. Real, human women have to deal with different colors and sizes, positions, textures, and hair.

Fortunately, all of these things are totally normal and not a problem as long as theyre your normal, says Dr. Denduluri. For example, if your nips have always been inverted, thats just how youre shaped, but if they change suddenly, going from pointy to fully or partially inverted, call your doctor stat. Bottom line: Any changes in your nipplesincluding their color and textureneed to be checked to rule out cancer, Dr. Denduluri says.

Oh, and BTW, hairy nipples on women have nothing to do with cancer and are totally normalone in three women have nipple hair, she adds.

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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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.

You’re Getting Your Period

Common Causes of Breast Pain

Two-thirds of breast pain is caused by the predictable surges of estrogen and progesterone around your monthly period.

Hormonal breast pain can happen to any woman that is menstruating, Dr. Swain says. It doesnt matter if theyre 14 or 44, as long as theyre still menstruating they have the risk of having cyclic breast pain.

Youll usually feel period-related boob pain in both breasts at once and all over your breasts. Most people describe the pain as achy rather than sharp.

For some women, its enough just to know that the pain will go away, usually in a week to 10 days. Other women seek relief from over-the-counter pain medications. There is one FDA-approved prescription drug for breast pain, called danazol, but it can have serious side effects.

Tweaking your diet may limit menstrual breast pain as well: Eating more flaxseed might help, as can sticking to a low-fat diet thats rich in complex carbs, says Dr. Swain.

RELATED: The 5 Ways Your Boobs Change Throughout the Month

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What Causes Breast Cancer Vs Cysts

Breast Cancer

Many women who develop breast cancer have no risk factors other than age and gender.

  • Gender is the biggest risk because breast cancer occurs mostly in women.
  • Age is another critical factor. Breast cancer may occur at any age, though the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average woman at 30 years of age has one chance in 280 of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. This chance increases to one in 70 for a woman 40 years of age, and to one in 40 at 50 years of age. A 60-year-old woman has a one in 30 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
  • White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women in the U.S.
  • A woman with a personal history of cancer in one breast has a three- to fourfold greater risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This refers to the risk for developing a new tumor and not a recurrence of the first cancer.

Genetic Causes of Breast Cancer

There is great interest in genes linked to breast cancer. About 5%-10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, as a result of mutations, or changes, in certain genes that are passed along in families.

Hormonal Causes of Breast Cancer

Hormonal influences play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Lifestyle and Dietary Causes of Breast Cancer

Benign Breast Disease

Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer

Breast Cysts

Some causes of breast pain are:


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