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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 Reeree, Community Member, asks

Q: Tender right breast...swollen armpit lymph nodes

Tender right breast...swollen armpit lymph nodes...


For the past month my breasts were very tender.  I thought I was pregnant or something with the way they ached.  But that wasn't the case.  The past week or so it's been more my right breast that has been aching.  I discovered my glands beneath my right armpit were swollen and sore and my right breast generally was sore if I bend or lift my arms.  Breast cancer runs in my family.  Occasionally a stinging pain...nothing unbearable...will extend from the side of my right breast (kinda in my armpit) to the bottom of my right breast...sometimes to the bottom of my elbow.  I haven't located a lump in my breast.  But my glands feel lumpy, swollen, and sore.  I am getting some blood work done to see if there is an infection somewhere.  Do I need a mammogram?  I am 27. 

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Answers (6)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/17/09 10:40pm

Hi - This doesn't sound like a breast cancer symptom. It sounds like an infection of some kind. I'm glad you're getting bloodwork donw - hopefully they'll discover the underlying cause of these symptoms, and get you started with treatment. Best of luck, and I hope you feel better soon - PJH

TAMON, Community Member
6/23/09 1:54pm

Hi, I'm 26 and having the same symtoms right now.  I'm going to the doctor today.  I had breast problems this same breast, my left one right after the birth of my daughter.  I had mastitis which turned into an abscess and then I contracted MRSA in my breast.  Anyways, when I started having the tenderness I just blew it off but it has gotten progressively worse.  I'm not worried this is cancer, I'm just tired of the pain.  I finally sucked it up and called the Doc today so we will see...

Reeree, Community Member
6/23/09 2:47pm

Thanks so much!  I am definitely going to head into the doctor's office.  Let me know how it goes!

Allyson, Community Member
7/24/09 3:29pm

Hi, I have those exact same symptoms now: the aching the right breast, the swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, the aches all the way down to my elbow etc. I am going to see the doctor on Monday, but I wanted to know if you ever found out what was wrong with you. What was your diagnosis??

Firedrops, Community Member
8/ 6/09 11:58am

It sounds like mastitis which is an infection in the breast. Typically you treat it with antibiotics and it goes away. However, if symptoms do not disappear after about 7 days make sure you go back to your doctor. There is a rare but highly aggressive form of cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer that is often misdiagnosed as mastitis. I don't say this to scare you, but to emphasize the importance of treating your infection now and following up with your healthcare provider. 

Christine, Community Member
11/22/09 9:52pm

The breasts contain a network of lymphatic vessels that drain into the lymph glands. The lymphatic system is part of your immune system, and if the toxins that we absorb just from being alive are allowed to accumulate and sit in those vessels, a "stagnant cesspool" of toxins can develop in the breasts which suggests it would be beneficial to practice breast massage regularly. You can find how tos on the web or on pages 263-264 of Donna Eden's book "Energy Medicine" where she talks about how to safeguard your breasts. I love my Victoria's Secret bras and don't plan to stop wearing them but those underwires are supposedly terrible and not advised. Just don't wear a bra any more than you need to, and especially don't sleep in them. Cleanse your body and get the lymph fluid moving regularly through exercise and massage!

chaun, Community Member
7/25/11 2:13pm

Came across this when I googled the question "Is sore, swollen arm a symptom of breast cancer? Anyone that has this symptom needs to go to a Dr. and have tests ran. My sister had these symptoms and was incorrectly diagnosed when she "finally" did go the Dr. when it didn't go away. She has stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer which is very aggresive and has spread to her liver.


PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/25/11 4:35pm

I'm so sorry for your sister, and for you. IBC can be hard to diagnose, as it doesn't come with the usual lump, but rather swelling that looks like an infection. Thanks for helping to point that out. I wish you both the best as she continues through treatment - PJH

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By Reeree, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/13/14, First Published: 06/17/09