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Saturday, September 19, 2009 angelhair365, Community Member, asks

Q: i have pain, swelling, tenderness, in my left armpit. cancer symptoms?

Hello im a 44 year old woman. here is my medical history. i had total hysterectomy 5 yrs ago. i have also had two cysts at seperate times drained from my left breast 5 years ago. i had a spinal fusion done on c5&6. here is my family history...grandmother had radical masectomy on left breast from breast cancer. my mother had fibrocystic breast disease also. cancer has been running very heavy within my family. i strted having pain under my arm on left side about a yr ago which caused me great concern. i thought it was my heart or panic attacks so i went to my dr. he started out by me wering  24 hr heart monitor which was ok. put me on lexapro and acid reflux meds. the meds worked for what they were intended for. but the pain ever went away and i have swelling. i have noticed a red streak and blueish area around where the pain is. axillary and up towards arm and across left chest breast area. my left breast has always been larger than the other, but now its considerable larger and heavier than the other. ive been told to have annual mammo's, but my breasts are so dense that they have to do n ultra sound. i dont have insurance so im unable to do any follow ups, or xtra money. please give some answers if this may be serious, or symptoms of breast cancer. if i have cancer would it be later in stage because of lymph involvement? im very scared of this and family history. thanks for opportunity to ask my questions. scared  in indiana

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/19/09 2:05pm

Hi - First of all, let's try to separate the breast cancer worries from everything else. Your grandmother having cancer and mom having fibrocystic issues doesn't increase your risk for breast cancer. Neither do the cysts, the spinal fusiion, nor the hysterectomy. Long-term pain wouldn't signal breast cancer, either. The one symptom I see here that might be a cause for concern would be that one breast is swelling, and turning red/blue. It's problematic that you don't have insurance, I know, but this is something you should have checked out, as it qualifies as a breast change, and breast changes DO need to be checked, to rule out cancer. So please see a doctor, and ask to be checked for inflammatory breast cancer, a rare cancer that can start with symptoms that look like an infection. I hope you feel better soon - good luck. PJH

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By angelhair365, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/02/10, First Published: 09/19/09