Worried about a lump in your breast? Breast lumps can be caused by a number of other factors besides breast cancer. While breast lumps should always be taken seriously, these FAQS may help you determine just how quickly you should get to the doctor. Q. My breasts were feeling really painful, especially the right one, so I went to the doctor. She said I have “fibrocystic changes,” and it’s nothing to worry about. I’m glad it’s not cancer, but what is it? A. Fibrocystic changes (FCC), also known as fibrocystic breasts, are the most common benign condition of the breast, occurring in about 50% of women at some point during their lives. Highly influenced by reproductive hormones and the menstrual cycle, FCC is most often found in women under the age of 50. Post-menopausal women rarely experience FCC. Your breasts are made up of fat; glandular tissue (e.g., milk lobules and milk ducts); and fibrous (stromal) tissue, a connective tissue (akin to scar tissue or lig...
Armpit discomfort, including pain, swelling, and a feeling of fullness or numbness, can happen after the following surgeries to treat breast cancer:
lymph node removal
Some of the nerves in your armpit may be cut during surgery, which can cause numbness. If your surgeon had to move around some of the tissue under the surface of your skin, the area may feel tender and swollen.
Your armpit skin is close to your breast, so during radiation your armpit may get irritated and sore while you're being treated. In addition to the radiation, your arm rubbing back and forth on the skin, along with the sweat and hair that's there can make the area more irritated than your breast.
Managing armpit discomfort
Use cornstarch instead of deodorant or antiperspirant to reduce friction of your arm rubbing on the skin. For easy application, put some cornstarch into a thin sock or knee-high and tie a knot at the top. Tap the sock gently against your skin.
Avoid strong soaps, antip...
What do underarm lymph nodes do? Why do they swell up? And how do you know if the swelling is simply an infection – or might be cancer?
You're taking a shower, soaping up. And suddenly, underneath your arm, your fingers detect a painful, tender lump – one that wasn't there yesterday. Your mind starts to race: "Do I need to worry about this? Could it be an infected lymph node, even though I haven't felt sick? Could it be… cancer?"
What is the lymphatic system?
Your body's lymphatic system, made up of a series of small vessels, carries a clear liquid – lymph – from your body tissues to the heart. In the heart, lymph joins blood and is pumped via arteries back to the tissues. This efficient system helps drain excess liquid from tissues, and transports infection-fighting white blood cells to where they're needed.
What are lymph nodes?
Scattered along these small lymphatic vessels are up to 700 lymph nodes. These small (think...
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