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Tuesday, January 03, 2012 Brenda, Community Member, asks

Q: i have a aching throbbing pain in my left breast, if i press on my nipple i feel it more, and become

I had never had a heart problem, and i fear mamo's, due to pressin, it feels like my nipple are goin to pop off....I cry everytime its done, i even passed out once while have it done. I complaint of the pain, but the nurse say they have to  press down hard in order to get a reading...I was told by other women, that my mamo's should never hurt, and if they do ask to have a either an ultra sound or mri, or x-ray, and my gyn/doc refuses either or.  I don't know any other route to take to find out what is goin on with this left breast.  Im in tears right now, this aching pain is throbbing, and i can't even wear a bra

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Answers (4)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/ 3/12 8:29pm

Brenda, if you have had this pain more than a few days, you need to check in with your doctor.  You might have an infection that needs immediate treatment.  Also, even though you have never had heart problems before, it is still possible that you have the beginning of some heart issue.  It may be possible to find out what is causing the pain without doing a mammogram.  For example, one common cause of breast pain is a cyst, and ultrasounds are very good at finding cysts.

If it has been a while since you had a mammogram, you would probably be surprised at how much less painful they are now than they used to be.  The new digital machines don't need as much compression as the old ones.  Of course, since your breast already hurts, no one can promise you a painless mammogram this time.  Breast pain is not a typical breast cancer symptom, but if your doctor thinks you need a mammogram to rule out the possibility, then you will just need to keep in mind that the discomfort of the mammogram will last for just a few minutes while the pain of untreated breast cancer or late stage breast cancer would be much greater.

Do let the doctor know that you have had bad experiences with mammograms before and would like your fears noted on the prescription so that you can get an appointment at the best clinic with the most sympathetic technicians.  I hope your pain soon clears up and that you are feeling better.

ckalaskie, Community Member
1/ 5/12 4:37pm


I have the privilege of being a cancer outreach educator for a community cancer center.  I get to talk to a lot of women about this issue.  I'm sorry you are in pain. Breast cysts are a pretty common occurance for women in their 30s and 40s ,even earlier, and can be very painful.

Ordinarily, cysts don't require treatment unless a cyst is large and painful or otherwise uncomfortable. In that case, draining the fluid from a breast cyst can ease your symptoms.

However, you won't know if your problem is a cyst or not until you get some type of imaging test.  The Mammogram is our best weapon for finding problems in the brest. It can detect tiny, needle point sized, precancerous calcifications. the procedure may be less uncomfortable if you schedule it 7 - 10 days after the start of your period. This gives the breasts a chance to get as close to normal as possible after all the hormonal changes caused by menstration. Also, ask your doctor if it's OK for you to take a pain releiver before the mammogram.  Some women find this very helpful.  Try removing all caffine including, chocolate and energy drinks, from your diet several days before the examination.  Caffine can make your breasts pretty tender. Check out the Mayo Clinic Website for easy to understand information on breast pain and please, please, get that mammogram!  You are worth it!

Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/ 5/12 7:55pm

Thanks for great practical suggestions for reducing the discomfort of mammograms.  As you say, they are still our best hope for finding breast cancers while they are still small.

Shirley Waters, Community Member
1/ 6/12 9:44am

Mysister put your faith in the LORD.  He is the one who directed the doctors in the first place. We cannot do anything on our own, He does it through us. I am a believer in Almighty GOD.  Try Him.

Joan, Community Member
2/ 1/13 11:46am



What did this end up being?  I'm having the same symptoms.

PJ Hamel, Health Guide
2/ 1/13 1:05pm

Joan, be sure to read Phyllis' answer to Brenda above; it's important you take this seriously. If you want to get in touch with Brenda directly, click on her name (in blue) and send her a private message. After all this time, she may no longer be monitoring this thread. Good luck - I hope you get this resolved soon. PJH

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By Brenda, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/01/13, First Published: 01/03/12