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Saturday, May 16, 2009 makyra, Community Member, asks

Q: Brown discharge from nipple... what is it?

My doctor had given me a 90% chance of breast cancer due to the abnormal ultrasound of the RIGHT breast: mishapen, blurred edges, no defined lines. A core biopsy showed no malignancy, but a fibroendenoma. According to my doctor, this is quite rare to have a benign tumor that looks like this. I am having surgery in two weeks to have it removed, a surgical biopsy. I'm sure they will run more tests just to make sure.

 

However, tonight I noticed a brown, sticky discharge from one duct on my LEFT breast. I have always been able to secrete liquid from both my nipples if squeezed, usually whitish-yellowish. But never have I had anything like this come out. An ultrasound was done on both breasts, and what my doctor believes is a small cyst in my left breast was found: less than 1 cm, slightly oval and very defined edges. I've never felt anything in the left breast, no lump, no tenderness, nothing.

 

SO, my question now is two-fold: what could this be... a missed cancer? An infection? And should I call my doctor as soon as possible or wait until Friday when I go in for pre-op testing and instructions? Given what I've been through the past month, I can't help but feel skittish, and my gut is saying call now now NOW!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/17/09 11:05am

Hi Makyra - I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this! I think you should report this discharge to your doctor, so that he/she can possibly add a biopsy of the left breast to your upcoming right-breast surgery. Nipple discharge is usually no problem (as you know, having apparently had it for years). But if it's bloody (and brown might be interpreted as bloody), then yes, it can possibly be a breast cancer symptom. Know that about 85% of breast biopsies are negative, so the statistics are on your side. But do report this discharge. Good luck - PJH

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By makyra, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/16/10, First Published: 05/16/09