Q: Dr. Ketch, I have a painful breast. I have been to a doctor and they say it’s nothing…no signs of breast cancer. What could it be??
A: Breast pain can be experienced as a burning or stabbing pain or it could be felt as soreness or heaviness. The usual locations are the outer portion of the breast and may extend to the underarms and sometimes, all the way down the arms. Breast pain is commonly not a sign of cancer.
Breast pain could be cyclical, in which case, it is linked to menstrual cycle or non-cyclical, in which case it is not linked to menstrual cycle.
Cyclical breast pain occurs at about the same time every month, starting about 2 to 3 days before the menstruation starts and improving after the period. The intensity of the pain varies during the period. This pain is thought to be related the effect of hormones and so women on hormone replacement therapy after menopause may experience this breast pain too.
Non-cyclical breast pain may be due to mastitis…a painful condition of the breast during breastfeeding. For more on this, please click on https://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/09/12/daily-health-tips-im-a-breastfeeding-mother-who-just-developed-a-painful-lump-in-my-breast-could-it-be-cancer/
It may also be due to medications, breast abscess (collection of pus in the breast), non-cancerous breast lumps .
If you have breast pain, it’s a good idea to have your doctor check it out especially if:
- The pain is continuous over a couple of weeks
- The pain gets worse
- The pain prevents daily activities
- The pain is consistent in a particular area.
A couple of exams like clinical breast examination, mammogram, ultrasound and breast biopsy will help make a definitive diagnosis.
I hope this helps.
Have a good night, people 😀