Dear Sister: A Message to our Teenage Readers

PJ Hamel Health Guide
  • I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. But I feel comfortable calling you sister, because all of us women – young, old, or in-between, all over the world – are sisters, bound by genetics and our female souls.If you’re reading these words, I assume it’s because you came to this site want...

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Published On: August 21, 2009
23 Comments
  • olivia237
    Jan. 16, 2017
    Although this information did make me feel a lot better, I'm still slightly concerned. Since I first developed breasts, ever since I can remember I've had large lumps in them. For most of my life I have just thought they were normal, but recently I've been doing a lot of research and honestly getting terrified. They fill most of my breast and really hurt when...
    RHMLucky777
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    Although this information did make me feel a lot better, I'm still slightly concerned. Since I first developed breasts, ever since I can remember I've had large lumps in them. For most of my life I have just thought they were normal, but recently I've been doing a lot of research and honestly getting terrified. They fill most of my breast and really hurt when you push down on/squeeze them etc. I also recently just noticed a small lump in my left armpit, and according to a lot of research my chances of having breast cancer are looking scarily realistic! I hadn't ever told my mum about the lumps in my breasts but when I found the lump in my armpit I told her. She said we might have to get it checked out which didn't make me feel any better. We are on holidays at the moment so I haven't got it checked out yet. One of the reasons I didn't tell my mum about the lumps in my breasts is because I was terrified of going to the doctor and having them examine my breasts. I know it's stupid and if I actually did have breast cancer that would be the least of my worries but I still don't like the thought of it. Please if there is anything you could tell me that would make me feel less concerned that would be much appreciated, but I understand if you can't. Please reply! Thank you :)
    • olivia237
      Jan. 16, 2017
      I'm 15 by the way ^^
    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Jan. 17, 2017
      Olivia, all I can say is, painful lumps in both breasts, lumps that you've had for quite awhile, aren't a breast cancer symptom — period. End of story. And again, at your age, the chance of you having breast cancer is like 1 in a million, probably even less. Please try to hang onto that information and internalize it; it's easy to let your imagination run...
      RHMLucky777
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      Olivia, all I can say is, painful lumps in both breasts, lumps that you've had for quite awhile, aren't a breast cancer symptom — period. End of story. And again, at your age, the chance of you having breast cancer is like 1 in a million, probably even less. Please try to hang onto that information and internalize it; it's easy to let your imagination run away with you and make you decide, "Yes, I AM that 1 in a million," but really? Almost certainly not. This is a good opportunity to practice your emotional coping skills, OK? We all go through stressful, scary times; and we all have to develop ways to get through them without making ourselves terminally crazy. So do what it takes — music, friends, activities — to take your mind off yourself as much as possible, and DO see a doctor, because ultimately, the OK from your doctor is going to make the difference for you. Take care — PJH
  • izzyluv8223
    Dec. 16, 2016
    I just wanted to say thank you soooooo much!!! The past few months I have been convinced that I have breast cancer. I'm only 17 and have always known it was an irrational fear, but just couldn't get over the thought. My breasts were itchy one day, and of course, I console the internet looking for what it might be causing it, and that's when I saw "BREAST CANCER"....
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I just wanted to say thank you soooooo much!!! The past few months I have been convinced that I have breast cancer. I'm only 17 and have always known it was an irrational fear, but just couldn't get over the thought. My breasts were itchy one day, and of course, I console the internet looking for what it might be causing it, and that's when I saw "BREAST CANCER". Ever since then I've been poking and prodding, looking for bumps and flipped out when I found (what I know now to be) a milk duct. Of course, this was in October (Breast Cancer awareness month), and I couldn't get the thought out of my head. Ever since then I've been stressing, at the point of tears, losing sleep, even making myself nauseous over the thought. My mom noticed, and took me to be evaluated by a doctor for reassurance. She did the whole exam and said there was nothing there. I felt better for a few weeks, but recently my anxiety has been building up again. After reading this I feel so much better! I knew my risk was tiny (being 17 and not even having any history) but knowing I have a 1 in 1,000,000 chance makes me gives so much relief!I could definitely relate to your article and just wanted to say thanks for giving me assurance and a good night's sleep. I think the only thing I can diagnose myself with now is anxiety! :P
    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Dec. 16, 2016
      Oh, Izzy... I'm so sorry you've been going through all of this stress! Fear and lack of knowledge go hand in hand, and together they can be a dangerous mix — dangerous to your emotional health. I'm glad your mom took you to the doctor, and you received assurances that you're fine; the internet is a great resource for research, but only a medical professional...
      RHMLucky777
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      Oh, Izzy... I'm so sorry you've been going through all of this stress! Fear and lack of knowledge go hand in hand, and together they can be a dangerous mix — dangerous to your emotional health. I'm glad your mom took you to the doctor, and you received assurances that you're fine; the internet is a great resource for research, but only a medical professional can examine, diagnose, and advise. Glad you found HealthCentral and this post, too; and that we could help put your worries in perspective. Now, go forth and enjoy your life! There'll always be something to worry about but, at your age, breast cancer should be far down the list. Take care — PJH
  • shreyaroohi
    Mar. 14, 2016
    Hi! I'm just 18. I'm very skinny. I've a small pea-sized lump in my left breast almost for two years. It is painless. It moves beneath my skin when I try to press it. So, I think it's not very deep seated. The size, i suppose is the same till now from the first time I noticed it. The left breast is a little heavier & larger from the right one. I'm not worrying...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Hi! I'm just 18. I'm very skinny. I've a small pea-sized lump in my left breast almost for two years. It is painless. It moves beneath my skin when I try to press it. So, I think it's not very deep seated. The size, i suppose is the same till now from the first time I noticed it. The left breast is a little heavier & larger from the right one. I'm not worrying for but I just want to know if I should go for an examination or all these are normal?
    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Mar. 15, 2016
      Hi - We're not doctors here, simply well-read breast cancer survivors. As such, we can't provide your with medical advice that should rightfully be given by your doctor. While what you describe isn't a typical breast cancer symptom; and your chance of having breast cancer, at your age, is extremely tiny; for peace of mind, you might want to consult your doctor....
      RHMLucky777
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      Hi - We're not doctors here, simply well-read breast cancer survivors. As such, we can't provide your with medical advice that should rightfully be given by your doctor. While what you describe isn't a typical breast cancer symptom; and your chance of having breast cancer, at your age, is extremely tiny; for peace of mind, you might want to consult your doctor. Be well - PJH
  • shelytren125
    Dec. 04, 2015
    I'm 15 and recently I found an enlarged lypmh node in my armpit I was very worried as it slightly became more noticeable and more painful. My nipples enlarged and look kind of deformed although I am not mensruating. I do have history of various cancers in my family such as skin, breast, and brain cancer. Although I now know that it is virtually impossible at...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I'm 15 and recently I found an enlarged lypmh node in my armpit I was very worried as it slightly became more noticeable and more painful. My nipples enlarged and look kind of deformed although I am not mensruating. I do have history of various cancers in my family such as skin, breast, and brain cancer. Although I now know that it is virtually impossible at my age to have breast cancer I was wondering what you think might be up? Should I worry?
    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Dec. 04, 2015
      Hi - It's good you're aware of breast changes, and your family cancer history, as well. Understand that, unless your mom or a sister has had breast cancer, your own risk isn't increased; cousins, aunts, etc. being diagnosed with cancer don't increase your risk. It sounds like you might have had an infection or illness that's caused one of your underarm lymph...
      RHMLucky777
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      Hi - It's good you're aware of breast changes, and your family cancer history, as well. Understand that, unless your mom or a sister has had breast cancer, your own risk isn't increased; cousins, aunts, etc. being diagnosed with cancer don't increase your risk. It sounds like you might have had an infection or illness that's caused one of your underarm lymph nodes to become enlarged; if it doesn't start feeling better in a few days, you might want to see a doctor for some possible treatment (antibiotics). As for your nipples, well, during puberty your breasts will go through all kinds of changes: size, appearance, shape, "lumpiness," etc. If you feel very worried about this, ask a responsible adult (embarrassing though it might be!); you might decide you want to see a doctor, just to set your mind at ease, and an adult can help you make this decision. Good luck - I hope you're feeling better soon! PJH
  • Tailah
    Oct. 15, 2015
    Hi, my nipple is very sore and the tip has turned red and then turns white whilst the rest of my breast is white. The skin on the tip of m nipple is cracking and burns and chaffes whe i wear a tshirt. I highly doubt its cancer but I would like to know some therioes please Thank you.
    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Oct. 16, 2015
      Hi Tailah - Since you were reading our message to teens I'll assume you're a teenager or very young woman, in which case breast cancer would be a remote possibility, as you know. There are various reasons you might be experiencing a sore, cracked nipple; perhaps it's as simple as a bra that doesn't quite fit, or too much swimming in a chlorinated pool. At any...
      RHMLucky777
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      Hi Tailah - Since you were reading our message to teens I'll assume you're a teenager or very young woman, in which case breast cancer would be a remote possibility, as you know. There are various reasons you might be experiencing a sore, cracked nipple; perhaps it's as simple as a bra that doesn't quite fit, or too much swimming in a chlorinated pool. At any rate, please read our post on nipple issues – http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/78/174397/nipple-soreness-treatment – for lots of helpful information. Take care – PJH
  • siva
    Nov. 19, 2011

    its vry helpful, to get a words from you! thk u mam, i like to be touch with you mam

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Nov. 19, 2011

      Come on back here anytime, Siva - we're here for you. PJH

  • Anonymous
    MICHELLE12
    May. 03, 2011

    I read your blog which by the way was extremely helpful. I am a 18 year old teenager whose mother was diagnosed with breat cancer under the age of 40. She is a cancer surviver who had a 8 inch tumor in your right breast at stage 5. Both of my grandparents passed away with cancer, and several other relatives of mine. I'm a average teenager who is concern about...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I read your blog which by the way was extremely helpful. I am a 18 year old teenager whose mother was diagnosed with breat cancer under the age of 40. She is a cancer surviver who had a 8 inch tumor in your right breast at stage 5. Both of my grandparents passed away with cancer, and several other relatives of mine. I'm a average teenager who is concern about their health. My breast tend to feel tight and my left breast is alot bigger than my right. Ive read alot of post from other women my age that have the same problem which helped me feel more comfortable about sharing this. I rarely get my period after every 4 or 5 months and im still not sexually active which worrys me. At 17 i was found with two cyst in my olvaries and any pain comes to my concern. I am very conservative so i dont like to spread my business but im concerned and your post has made me feel inspired to write on here. Please reply thank you.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 04, 2011

      Michelle, I'm glad you've found this site helpful. Your mother having been diagnosed with cancer under age 40 does raise your risk, though it's still low - especially at your age. That said, as you get older you should keep in mind that any breast change lasting longer than a month should be seen by a doctor.

       

      As you go through your teenage years, and...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Michelle, I'm glad you've found this site helpful. Your mother having been diagnosed with cancer under age 40 does raise your risk, though it's still low - especially at your age. That said, as you get older you should keep in mind that any breast change lasting longer than a month should be seen by a doctor.

       

      As you go through your teenage years, and your breasts grow and develop, this may happen in an uneven fashion; one may sometimes "outgrow" the other. Pain, tenderness, and soreness is also natural. However, it's difficult, at your age, to detemrine what's normal for you - as things keep changing.

       

      With that in mind, and considering at age 18 you're having an irregular period, I think it would be worth speaking to your doctor. If you can't do that, and you're still in school, please talk to the school nurse. You might have some other issue that's interfering with your menstrual cycle, and you'd want to find out what it is, and do something about it, OK? Also, a doctor or nurse would tell you how to look for breast changes, and what to look for. So - please see a doctor. Take care- PJH

    • michelle12
      May. 14, 2011

      thanks so much your a really big help. i defintely will talk to a doctor ;]

      keep inspiring people your great at it , take care.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 15, 2011

      Good for you, Michelle - that's the way to be responsible about your health. One of the signs of maturity is being able to manage your own health care, and it sounds like you're well on your way - congrats! Be well- PJH

  • Anonymous
    laney
    Feb. 07, 2010

    okay i understood everything you just said in response , but what I don't understand is why i also have this thing in my breast .At first it hurt me ,but when i sit up straight it leaves and like it calms down .So explain to me why i have this ball in my breast instead of a ring that im suppose to have .

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Feb. 07, 2010

      Sorry, could you clarify the question? Not sure what a "ring" in your breast would be. If you have a lump in your breast, it's lasted more than a month, and it's making you uncomfortable, get it checked out by a doctor, OK? S/he can diagnose it and treat it if necessary, but wither way, you could stop wondering and worrying. Good luck - PJH

    • Anonymous
      <3jadedeyes<3
      Jan. 08, 2011

      Hello,

      I am 13 years old and on my right breast under my nipple, there is a visible lump. It is very painful, hard, and has turned red over the course of today. No discharge or bleeding. I noticed the pain last night, but there was no lump. Sometimes the area stings and burns and itches. I am so scared right now because I dont know what is wrong....

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hello,

      I am 13 years old and on my right breast under my nipple, there is a visible lump. It is very painful, hard, and has turned red over the course of today. No discharge or bleeding. I noticed the pain last night, but there was no lump. Sometimes the area stings and burns and itches. I am so scared right now because I dont know what is wrong. Also, earlier today, my nipple was slightly pushed in, but now the tip seems to be coming out... Do you have an idea on what might be wrong?

      Thanks.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Jan. 08, 2011

      Hi - sounds like you might have an infection. Your breast has tiny oil glands all arond the areola (the colored part around the nipple); sometimes these get infected and painful, much like you'd get a pimple on your face. Please don't worry about breast cancer; it's incredibly unlikely, virtually impossible. But you should tell your mom or another adult about...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi - sounds like you might have an infection. Your breast has tiny oil glands all arond the areola (the colored part around the nipple); sometimes these get infected and painful, much like you'd get a pimple on your face. Please don't worry about breast cancer; it's incredibly unlikely, virtually impossible. But you should tell your mom or another adult about this, as you may need to see a doctor for some antibiotics. In the meantime, don't squeeze it; keep it aired out (no bra, if possible); and again, talk to an adult. Take care- PJH

  • Anonymous
    pinkribbons
    Sep. 27, 2009

    i wish all doctors thought like this, that you are not being silly, or a hypocondriac or an overacting mother, because that is exactly what i feel like when i take my daughters to the doctors if i am worried, an over reacting mother.  i take our car to the garage if i dont know whats wrong with it, so whats the difference, is it becasue i pay the mechanic...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    i wish all doctors thought like this, that you are not being silly, or a hypocondriac or an overacting mother, because that is exactly what i feel like when i take my daughters to the doctors if i am worried, an over reacting mother.  i take our car to the garage if i dont know whats wrong with it, so whats the difference, is it becasue i pay the mechanic there and then but the doctor dosent know that i pay my national insurance money every month and wonders why i am now asking him about a 'new' problem.  i go in thinking, this is what they are there for and then coming out feeling awful for wasting thier time...anyway, you have made me feel better...for now until the next visit!!

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Sep. 27, 2009

      Glad you're feeling better, Pink - at least temporarily! Please try not to let how the doctors act affect how you view yourself. You're NOT an over-reacting mother; you're not "wasting their time." Taking care of our health is what doctors do; and that should incude willingly and gracefully answering questions and concerns. Just because the answer is evident...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Glad you're feeling better, Pink - at least temporarily! Please try not to let how the doctors act affect how you view yourself. You're NOT an over-reacting mother; you're not "wasting their time." Taking care of our health is what doctors do; and that should incude willingly and gracefully answering questions and concerns. Just because the answer is evident to the doctor, it doesn't mean it's clear to YOU, right? PJH