• alicia alicia
    July 31, 2013
    Why would one breast suddenly grow bigger than the other?
    alicia alicia
    July 31, 2013

    One of my breasts has grown significantly bigger than the other, about a cup size larger; I've monitored this change over the course of a month, and it's not related to my menstrual cycle. This same breast is also intermittently sore, and I have a slight rash at the most swollen point of the breast. I've had an ultrasound, which was clear; however, because the breast is still swollen and misshapen, I've been referred to a breast specialist, whom I'll see in 2 weeks. I'm curious about what could possibly be causing these symptoms?

     

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    August 01, 2013
    Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    August 01, 2013

    While there's a possibility this could be inflammatory breast cancer, it would be more usual for there to be a progression of symptoms in the timeframe you mention; cancer doesn't usually stand still. Also, the likelihood would be you'd have more soreness/redness.

     

    It's possible you have an infection, but again, it seems there'd be more pain. And I think if your doctor suspected an infection, s/he would have put you on a course of antibiotics.

     

    The ultrasound must have ruled out a cyst or cysts; so I'm wondering why your doctor didn't just go ahead with the next logical step, which would be a mammogram. You might want to ask him/her why that test wasn't ordered. I'd assume the breast specialist will use a mammogram to help diagnose what's going on, but you still might want to question your doctor about it.   

     

    We're not doctors here, and can't diagnose medical issues; we're here to offer support and advice as you go through diagnosis and treatment. Hopefully the breast specialist will be able to determine what's causing this swelling/pain, and find a way to deal with it. Best of luck to you.

     

    • alicia
      August 01, 2013
      alicia
      August 01, 2013

      Thank you very much for the thoughtful reply, Phyllis. 

       

      My doctor only mentioned hormonal changes as a possible cause and not infection. I don't know why. Based on my online research, my guess is that he ruled it out because I don't have either of the two common risk factors (smoking or breastfeeding) and I don't have a fever. I also don't have any obvious visual signs on the breast that would indicate infection. (There's a slight rashtype thing but no warmth or overall redness, and it's not near the nipple.) Or maybe he ruled it out via the examination. What seemed to bother him the most and prompt the referral to a breast specialist is that the breast hasn't gone down or up over the past month, even during menses, and I guess that fluctuations would be more typical or something hormonal or an infection. 

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      August 02, 2013
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      August 02, 2013

      Alicia, it sounds like you are doing a good job of combining your own research with good medical care.  You are thinking through all of your symptoms and comparing them to common breast problems.  As far as I can tell, you don't have the typical symptoms for any one breast problem that I am familiar with.  So whatever is going on, your presentation seems to be unusual.  I hope your appointment with the breast specialist goes well.  

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  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    July 31, 2013
    PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    July 31, 2013

    Alicia, there's a possibility this could be inflammatory breast cancer, but it would be more usual for there to be a progression of symptoms in the timeframe you mention; cancer doesn't usually stand still. Also, the likelihood would be you'd have more soreness/redness. The ultrasound must have ruled out a cyst or cysts; so I'm wondering why your doctor didn't just go ahead with the next logical step, which would be a mammogram. You might want to ask him/her why that test wasn't ordered. I'd assume the breast specialist will use a mammogram to help diagnose what's going on, but you still might want to question your doctor about it. 

     

    We're not doctors here, and can't diagnose medical issues; we're here to offer support and advice as you go through diagnosis and treatment. Hopefully the breast specialist will be able to determine what's causing this swelling/pain, and find a way to deal with it. Best of luck to you - PJH

    • alicia
      July 31, 2013
      alicia
      July 31, 2013

      Hello PJ, thank you for the prompt response. The doctor didn't order a mammogram because I'm 32 and he felt it wouldn't be helpful due to my age (I'm assuming because of dense tissue).

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    • PJ Hamel
      July 31, 2013
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      July 31, 2013

      Well, unless you've had a mammogram in the past, there can't be any clinical diagnosis of breast density; it's true, mammograms aren't very accurate for women with dense breasts, but they can't know you have dense breasts until they do a mammogram - kind of a Catch-22. Anyway, the breast specialist will be able to give you much better guidance as you go through the steps of diagnosis. An MRI, while it tends to yield a certain percentage of false positives, is usually the next step (after mammogram) for trying to identify a breast issue, so perhaps that's the route you'll end up going. Good luck - I hope you get good results, whatever the test ends up being. PJH

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