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 If The Lump Feels Like A Ridge What If I Have A Pea
You should have a familiarity with your body and what the breast normally feels like, including its normal shape, appearance, and texture. Generally, women are advised to analyze their breasts in the shower with soapy fingers to get a nice feel of the normal tissues. If you do that and have some familiarity with your normal breast tissue, and then find something different, you should reach out to your medical team.
What Is The Staging For Breast Cancer
Stage I and II breast cancers
- Early-stage localized breast cancer
- Tumor is less than 2 cm in size and is node negative
- Stage II tumors have spread to the axillary lymph nodes and/or a tumor size larger than 2 cm but smaller than 5 cm
Stage III breast cancers
- Locally advanced breast cancer
- Large breast tumors
- Extensive axillary lymph node involvement , nodal involvement of both axillary and internal mammary nodes at diagnosis, or nodal involvement of the soft tissues above or below the collarbone
- A tumor is also considered to be stage III if it extends to underlying muscles of the chest wall or the overlying skin
- Inflammatory breast cancer is at least stage III even if it is small and does not involve lymph nodes
Stage IV breast cancer
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Tumors have spread to areas outside the breast and lymph nodes to the bones, lungs, liver, or other organs
- The primary tumor in the breast may be any size, and there can be any number of affected lymph nodes
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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear when the tumour grows large enough to be felt as a lump in the breast or when the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as breast cancer.
The most common symptom of ductal carcinoma is a firm or hard lump that feels very different from the rest of the breast. It may feel like it is attached to the skin or the surrounding breast tissue. The lump doesnt get smaller or come and go with your period. It may be tender, but its usually not painful. .
Lobular carcinoma often does not form a lump. It feels more like the tissue in the breast is getting thicker or harder.
Other symptoms of ductal and lobular breast cancer include:
- a lump in the armpit
- changes in the shape or size of the breast
- changes to the nipple, such as a nipple that suddenly starts to point inward
- discharge that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it or that has blood in it
Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs. Late symptoms of breast cancer include:
- bone pain
What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like
In general, cancerous breast lumps tend to be more irregular in shape. They may also feel firm or solid, and might be fixed to the tissue in the breast. They are also often painless. However, in a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.
Breast cancer lumps can vary in size. Typically, a lump has to be about one centimeter before a person can feel it however, it depends on where the lump arises in the breast, how big the breast is, and how deep the lesion is.
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How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.
In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.
The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.
What Is A Fibroadenoma
Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, noncancerous lumps that are most commonly found in women in their 20s and 30s. They are the most common benign lumps in women and can occur at any age. They are increasingly being seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone therapy.
The painless lump feels rubbery and moves around freely. You may find one yourself. Fibroadenomas vary in size and can grow anywhere in the breast tissue.
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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
Why Is Papillary Breast Cancer Sometimes Misdiagnosed As Intraductal Papilloma Or Papillomatosis
Papillary tumors can be benign or malignant. This makes the diagnosis challenging. When performing a needle biopsy, the doctor can get several samples from the tumor. These samples may not contain invasive cancer cells.
However, papillary breast cancer can have both invasive and noninvasive cells. Other parts of the tumor may indeed contain invasive cancer cells. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this is why surgery to remove a papilloma is usually recommended, even if its thought to be benign.
Papillary breast cancer is an invasive breast cancer.
Intraductal papillomas are not cancerous. Theyre benign tumors that grow in the milk ducts, usually close to the nipple. These tumors are made of gland tissue, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels. If you have a single tumor like this, its called a solitary intraductal papilloma.
Sometimes, a group of benign papillomas grow in small ducts farther away from the nipple. In this case, theyre called multiple papillomas.
Papillomatosis in a condition in which you have tiny, less distinct areas of cell growth within the ducts.
Treatment for papillary breast cancer depends on the specific features of the cancer. These are the:
- estrogen and progesterone receptor status
- HER2 status
- tumor grade
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Breast Cancer Symptoms: What You Need To Know
Finding breast cancer early usually makes it easier to treat. Along with getting regular screening mammograms, being aware of how your breasts look and feel is an important part of early detection. Some breast cancer signs are detected best by mammogram. Other signs may be more eaily seen as changes in how the breasts look or feel.
It is important to know that not all changes in the breasts are cancer. Benign breast conditions are much more common than breast cancer. But it is important to let your health care team know about any changes in your breast so they can be looked into.
Below are some common breast symptoms that should be checked right away.
What Does A Tumor Feel Like Under The Skin
Lumps, tumors and all sorts of things one can feel in the breast can feel surprisingly similar: firm, as opposed to the normal, more spongy tissue of the breast. They are often irregularly shaped as opposed to a sphere or ball shape. Lumps are also usually mobile within the breast, and can be moved around within the breast.
However, its important to note that this can vary from person to person. Ultimately, anytime you feel something thats different from what your normal breast tissue feels like, or if you notice anything that generally feels unusual, you should speak to her medical team about that.
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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
What Does A Small Breast Cyst Feel Like
Cysts can feel either soft or hard. When close to the surface of the breast, cysts can feel like a large blister, smooth on the outside, but fluid-filled on the inside. When they are deep in breast tissue, cysts will feel like hard lumps because they are covered with tissue.
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Common Types Of Breast Cancer
Lobular carcinoma in situ
Lobular carcinoma in situ refers to an area of abnormal cells confined to the milk-producing glands of the breast in females.
Because these cells do not spread to surrounding tissues, experts do not consider lobular carcinoma in situ to be a true cancer. However, it can increase the chances of developing other types of breast cancer.
This condition rarely causes symptoms. In some cases, tiny white specs of calcium called microcalcifications show up on a routine mammogram.
Invasive lobular carcinoma
This develops in the breasts lobules glands that can produce milk and invades nearby breast tissue.
In the early stages, invasive lobular carcinoma may not cause symptoms. Or, a person may experience:
- thickening or hardening of breast tissue, rather than a distinct lump
- an area of fullness or swelling in the breast
- a change in the texture of the breasts skin
- the nipple turning inward
Ductal carcinoma in situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ refers to an area of abnormal cells that are confined to one of the breasts milk ducts.
When a person receives this diagnosis, it means that the cells have not invaded surrounding breast tissue. However, having ductal carcinoma in situ can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer later on.
This condition generally does not cause symptoms. Rarely, a person may notice a lump in the breast or some discharge from the nipple.
Invasive ductal carcinoma
People with this type of cancer may also experience:
Look For Other Breast Changes
A woman can have breast cancer without noticing any changes in breast lumps. As one MyBCTeam member shared, I never felt a lump or had any tenderness in my breasts. In fact, some cases of breast cancer are first detected when the nipples change in appearance, secrete fluids, or become tender, or when the breasts skin becomes dimpled or puckered.
The same member went on to note that other symptoms helped point to a diagnosis of breast cancer: What I did have was a flattening of my nipples. No tenderness or pain just that my nipples didnt get erect anymore and were inverted. And a year before, I had a blood clot in my lung. Found out later that these can both be signs of breast cancer.
Let your doctor know if you experience any other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple discharge, skin dimpling, or swelling in the surrounding tissues . According to the Stony Brook Cancer Center, any abnormality in the size, texture, shape, or nipple of just one breast rather than both may be more dangerous than changes affecting both breasts symmetrically.
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Less Common Breast Cancers
Some less common types of breast cancer include:
- Triple-negative breast cancer: The name refers to cancer cells that do not contain estrogen or progesterone receptors and produce little HER2 protein. As a result, the cancer does not respond to hormone therapy. Both lobular and ductal carcinomas can be triple-negative.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: This develops when cancer cells block lymph vessels within the skin of the breast, causing the breast to swell.
- Phyllodes tumors: These develop within the connective tissues of the breast. While most are benign, some are cancerous.
- Pagets disease: This type of cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple.
- Angiosarcoma of the breast: This type of cancer starts in blood or lymph vessels and can affect the breast tissue.
Breast Lumps Or Thickening
The earliest symptoms of breast cancer are easier to feel than see. Performing a monthly self-exam of your breasts will help you get familiar with their normal look and feel.
Theres no evidence that self-exams will help you detect cancer earlier, but it will help make it easier for you to notice any changes in your breast tissue.
Get into a routine of examining your breasts at least once per month. The best time to examine your breasts is a few days after the start of your menstrual cycle. If youve already begun menopause, choose a specific date to check your breasts every month.
With one hand positioned on your hip, use your other hand to run your fingers over both sides of your breasts, and dont forget to check underneath your armpits.
If you feel a lump or thickness, its important to realize that some women have thicker breasts than others and that if you have thicker breasts, you may notice lumpiness. A benign tumor or cyst can also cause lumpiness.
Even though it might be not be cause for alarm, tell your doctor about anything you notice that seems unusual.
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Common Causes Of Benign Breast Lumps
Most benign breast lumps and conditions are directly related to your menstrual cycle, to fluctuations in your hormones, and to the fluid buildup that comes with your monthly period. Other benign breast lumps and conditions may be related to plugged milk ducts, infections, or even breast injuries. The risk for benign breast conditions increases for women who have never had children and those who have a history of irregular menstrual cycles or a family history of breast cancer.
Here are some of the most common benign breast conditions.
Fibrocystic changes These changes cause a general lumpiness that can be described as ropy or granular, and affect at least half of all women. Symptoms of fibrocystic change include tender, fibrous, rubbery tissue a thickening of tissue or a round, fluid-filled cyst. These changes, which are related to hormonal fluctuation, may increase as you approach middle age and disappear with menopause. Sometimes doctors recommend limiting salt and caffeine consumption to ease fluid buildup. Birth control pills may also ease symptoms.
Mastitis An infection of the milk duct, mastitis can create a lumpy, red, and warm breast, accompanied by fever. It occurs most commonly in women who are breastfeeding, but can occur in non-breastfeeding women as well. Treatment involves warm compresses and antibiotics. Because these symptoms are similar to inflammatory breast cancer, if they occur in a non-breastfeeding woman a doctor may want to do a biopsy.
Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Although most breast cancers begin as lumps or tumors, inflammatory breast cancer usually starts with a feeling of thickness or heaviness in the breast. You also may develop red, inflamed skin on the breast. IBC tends to grow in the form of layers or sheets of tissue, which doctors sometimes call nests.
The breasts swell and become inflamed because the cancer cells clog the vessels that carry lymph. Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that transports white blood cells and removes bacteria and proteins from the tissues.
Common symptoms of IBC include:
- Redness of the breast: Redness involving part or all of the breast is a hallmark of inflammatory breast cancer. Sometimes the redness comes and goes.
- Swelling of the breast: Part of or all of the breast may be swollen, enlarged, and hard.
- Warmth: The breast may feel warm.
- Orange-peel appearance: Your breast may swell and start to look like the peel of a navel orange .
- Other skin changes: The skin of the breast might look pink or bruised, or you may have what looks like ridges, welts, or hives on your breast.
- Swelling of lymph nodes: The lymph nodes under your arm or above the collarbone may be swollen.
- Flattening or inversion of the nipple: The nipple may go flat or turn inward.
- Aching or burning: Your breast may ache or feel tender.
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