Q. I felt a lump under my arm, in the area of my armpit, not in my breast. So that means I don’t have to worry about breast cancer, right? A. Wrong. Your breasts don’t begin and end right there front and center on your chest; breast tissue can actually stretch up under the arm. In addition, there are a number of lymph nodes in your armpits that, when swollen, are a sign your body is fighting an infection… or cancer. Previous Breast Cancer Symptom: Dimpled Skin Next Breast Cancer Symptom: Swelling and Hot Sensation
To avoid fibrocystic changes in your breast tissue, avoid excessive fat and caffeine in your diet.
Most cases of breast cancer cannot be prevented. However, early detection and prompt treatment are important. All women should receive routine breast exams from a doctor and routine mammograms, as recommended.
All women over the age of 40 should also perform breast self-exams every month, preferably at the end of their menstrual period when the breasts are less tender and less swollen. Women who are breastfeeding should examine their breasts after completing a feeding.
In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG, eds. Clinical Oncology . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 95
Whitman GJ. Ultrasound-guided breast biopsies. Ultrasound Clin. Dec 2006; 1(4); 603-615.
If you feel a lump in your breast, you know enough to take it seriously. But did you know that a lump in your armpit should be taken just as seriously? Read the following FAQS for informatiton about the types and causes of armpit lumps, and guidance on whether/when to see a doctor if you feel one.
Q. I recently noticed a small lump under my left arm, in my armpit. Could this be a sign of breast cancer? A. It could indeed be a sign of breast cancer, for two reasons. First, breast tissue sometimes extends up into the armpit region. A lump felt in your underarm could in reality be a lump in your breast; you just never realized your breast extended that far. Second, the lymph nodes in your armpit filter out any abnormalities (infections, reactions to drugs, cancer) in the same-side chest wall, arm, or breast. So a lump under your arm may indicate that your lymph nodes have identified, and are trying to fight, cancer cells that have reached them from your breast. Q. Well, now I’m...
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