• Nikki46 Nikki46
    May 02, 2009
    What would cause my left breast to suddenly grow larger within days beside breast cancer?
    Nikki46 Nikki46
    May 02, 2009

    I am 47 and perimenopausal. Have always had dense fibroid breast tissue. 2 biopsies negative for cancer in last 5 years. Don't notice any rashes or breast discoloration or nipple change only that left breast is much larger. No nipple discharge. Have never had children. Keep seeing inflammitory breast cancer as only reason why one breast would suddenly grow larger. Can it be hormonal? Glandular? Anything besides cancer? What would be best way to diagnose if IBC? Mother died of liver cancer. Don't know family history of breast cancer.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    May 02, 2009
    Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    May 02, 2009

    Nikki, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is one possibility for a sudden change in your breast.  With IBC, cancer cells clogging the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast cause swelling, redness, pain, and often dimpled skin (the texture of orange peel).  One small study at the Mayo Clinic found that scar tissue from previous surgery can have the same effect, so your history of biopsies may be a factor.  Infections like cellulitis and mastitis can also cause swelling although usually with reddened skin.  Whatever the possible causes, you need to see a doctor soon.  If your doctor has weekend hours, call today to set up an appointment for early next week.  If not, call first thing Monday morning.  Most IBC patients present with more than one of the IBC symptoms, so I think it is too early to panic about this being cancer.  However, a sudden change in just one breast needs to be checked out.

  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    May 02, 2009
    PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    May 02, 2009

    Hi Nikki - If your whole breast has grown larger, rather than just suddenly developing a large lump (which could be a cyst), I'm not sure what could be going on. Only a doctor can figure this ou, so your best bet will be getting in to see one if this doesn't resolve over the weekend. Good luck - PJH

  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    January 27, 2012
    PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    January 27, 2012

    Hi, Nikki - Are you feeling any pain? I assume not, as you'd have mentioned it. IBC is usually accompanied by pain, or redness, a feeling of heat... something beyond the breast enlargement you describe. It's unlikely you'd have breast cancer, and rarer still that it would be IBC, so odds are this is caused by something else. Phyllis, our IBC expert, will be a better person to address this than I - I'll alert her to your post, OK? Thanks for your patience - PJH


FROM OUR COMMUNITY

  • butsyboo March 30, 2011
    butsyboo
    March 30, 2011

    I'm 31 and the same thing happened to me last year! I've been the doctors about 5 times and they said they don't know why but it doesn't appear sinister... as the only main symptoms are the change in size (and this fluctuates throughout the month) and a really itchy armpit... but no lumps, rashes, dimples, just feels lumpier in general and swells even more after a check so I try not to touch it now.  It's driving me mad as I don't know what it is.

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    • PJ Hamel
      March 30, 2011
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      March 30, 2011

      You might consider seeing a breast specialist - this sounds really uncomfortable. Even if it's not cancer, that doesn't mean you can't try to figure out what it is and get it treated. Hope you can get some relief soon - PJH

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  • C Adams December 27, 2012
    C Adams
    December 27, 2012

    I am having exactly the same thing. In March 2011 I was sent for a chest xray because the sides of my breasts and my breast bones were incredibly sore to the touch. I've had two breast exams over the past 3 months and although I have "lumpy breasts" they cannot find anything. I've been having tingling sensations down my left arm since July and my left breast is now noticeaby larger than the right. 

     

    The doctor is referring me to a rheumatologsist as he suspects tietzes syndrome (becuase of the pain) but every internet search I do leads me to Inflammory Breast Cancer? Should I insist that he refers me to a breast specialist too?

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      December 27, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      December 27, 2012
      It sounds as if your initial symptoms were not typical of IBC, and that your doctor has another possible diagnosis that is explained by the totality of your symptoms. It is not unusual for pain that starts in the ribs or heart to be felt in the breast. This type of referred pain makes it harder to track down the source of the problem. If your left breast has not only the swelling, but the redness, skin dimpling, and other signs associated with Ibc, it might make sense to ask for the double referral. However, if you can see the rheumatologist right away, working with one doctor at a time might be less confusing. We aren't doctors here, so making the differentiation between two diagnoses is beyond our scope. With pain on the left side and tingling down your left arm, I hope that heart problems have already been ruled out. Let us know what you find out. READ MORE
    • C Adams
      December 28, 2012
      C Adams
      December 28, 2012

      Thanks Phylis. I went to the dr this morning s my left breast is still growing and they have found a soft mass inside so I have been referred to a secialist tomorrow morning. I will let you know how I get on.

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      December 28, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      December 28, 2012
      Let us know what the breast specialist says. While I am sorry to hear that they found a mass, I am glad that you will have this evaluated so that you can get some answers soon. I am sending my best wishes that this will be benign like most breast lumps are. READ MORE
    • C Adams
      December 30, 2012
      C Adams
      December 30, 2012

      Thanks Phylis - I am pleased to tell you that after a morning of tests and scans I was relieved to hear that all the lumps are benign cysts that just playing up. Its seems that at 47 they don't know if they are coming or going so my specialist tells me... same as me then! Thank you for your best wishes and I just wish everyones news was as positive as mine. Happy New Year Smile

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      December 30, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      December 30, 2012
      I am so glad to hear this good news. I remember my cysts going wild as I neared menopause too. With this good news you can bring in the new year with happiness. READ MORE
  • LizzieB January 27, 2012
    LizzieB
    January 27, 2012

    Don't know but I have the same question.

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      January 27, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      January 27, 2012

      LizzieB, you don't mention how long you have had this problem or how much swelling there is, so it's hard to say what it might be.  Some women just have one breast that is larger than the other.  This difference is their normal.  Over the course of a menstrual cycle, many women's breasts swell and then get smaller as hormones fluctuate.  In some women this swelling may not be even.

       

      However, if this swelling is a change from your normal shape and it doesn't go down after your period, then it needs to be checked out by a doctor.  Because of my personal history with inflammatory breast cancer, I may be overly cautious.  This will probably turn out to be some sort of hormonal issue or an infection, however, you must be proactive about breast changes, especially if you have any other symptoms like redness, skin dimpling or pain.

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  • JasminaSNR January 18, 2013
    JasminaSNR
    January 18, 2013

    Hey, I'm 35 and I've had a problem with my left breast and armpit for the last 6 months or so. I went to the GP a few times as I had a lump in my armpit and pains in my breast, they said it was nothing. I wasn't happy so went private and saw a breast specialist consultant who also said it was nothing and an ultrasound showed my lump to be an active lymph node. 6 months on, I'm now pregnant and my left breast has grown really large, also I have a swelling under my armpit which can be very painful various times throughout the day. Again I went to the GP, but they don't thin kits anything other than glands not draining properly in the breast. However I still feel that they are missing something and am scared - especially as I have pain and swelling under my arm...any ideas?

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    • PJ Hamel
      January 18, 2013
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      January 18, 2013

      Jasmina, I'm not sure what to tell you. You've been to a GP numerous times, and to a breast specialist, and you've had an ultrasound, and everyone's telling you it's a lymph node or glands. Yet clearly, you're not convinced - which is fine. We all know our own bodies better than anyone else, and if you feel something is wrong, you need to pursue it. I think your next move would be a breast specialist at a Comprehensive Cancer Center, who'd probably be the "highest authority" you could consult about this. See if you can get a referral from either your GP, or the breast specialist you saw; even if this almost certianly is NOT cancer, you'd want to find out what it is so you can get some relief from the pain. Best of luck to you - PJH

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      January 19, 2013
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      January 19, 2013

      Jasmina, I wish doctors wouldn't use the phrase "it's nothing."  Obviously, it is something.  It's pain, swelling, and a lump.  Fortunately, the ultrasound has shown that the lump is not a lymph node doing its thing thing to protect you from infection.  Has the doctor ruled out infection for sure?  Have you had a fever or redness in that breast?

      The next thing to find out it why you have the swelling and pain.  Maybe the doctor who thinks that the problem is that your breast isn't draining fluid properly could refer you to a lymphedema therapist to see if a special type of massage can drain the fluid.  Lympedema is a condition that is most common in the extremities when the lymph fluid in the body doesn't circulate properly, but it can happen in other parts of the body too.  I'm not sure how extreme your swelling is.  Pregnant women's breasts swell, and they don't always do it evenly.  But from your description, it sounds like more investigation to find out WHY your breast is swelling would be a good idea, even if your doctors are sure the cause is not cancer.  I also agree with PJ that a comprehensive cancer center would be the next stop for ruling out cancer if you are still worried.  

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  • molly244 January 07, 2013
    molly244
    January 07, 2013

    Hi, I just turn 20 and have noticed that my left breast has grown noticably larger than my right in just over a month.  What are the chances of me having Poland Syndrome? 

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    • PJ Hamel
      January 07, 2013
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      January 07, 2013

      Molly, since Poland Syndrome is very rare and characterized by other symptoms that you apparently don't have, then chances are you don't need to worry about it. It's much more likely this change in size is hormonal; you may be experiencing fibrocystic change, which can cause cysts and fibroadenomas (benign growths) in your breasts, which can cause either or both to change size.

       

      I'd suggest you see a doctor about this; any breast change that lasts longer than a month should be diagnosed and treated, if necessary, and only a doctor can do that. So best to call and make an appointment at your earliest convenience, OK? Good luck - I hope you get to the bottom of this soon. PJH

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  • Tanya December 14, 2012
    Tanya
    December 14, 2012

    Hi All,

    A similar thing has happened to me.

    I a 29 and my right breast has suddenly increased a whole cup size and a half. I have been to breast specialists, had a mammogram an ultrasound and a few examinations and they all have no idea. I have been told to see the specialist again in 3 months to monitor it. Very frustrating. Maybe we can figure it out!

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      December 14, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      December 14, 2012

      Tanya, it's good that the breast specialist plans to monitor the situation.  Hormonal changes or weight gain would usually affect both breasts about the same, but the body is mysterious, and maybe there is some reason your right side is being affected more than the left by whatever is going on.  If you develop new symptoms like skin dimpling, redness, pain, or itching, do not wait three months until you next appointment.  Call back about any new symptoms that might indicate an infection or inflammatory breast cancer.  If it stays about the same or gets better, return to the doctor as scheduled.  

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    • Tanya
      December 14, 2012
      Tanya
      December 14, 2012

      Thanks Phyllis,

      I think the most annoying thing is that no one has really seen anything similar that is not related to breast cancer...I thought maybe a breast specialist would have seen maybe one or two people like it.

      One thing the specialist did say was maybe avoid soy milk as apparently that can do some odd things.I only have one cup a day with my coffee but its better than nothing I guess I have also been taking antidepressants for over 10 years. At the moment I take efexor 150mg/day. The specialist also said that sometimes though rarely this can do some odd things to the body.

      My guess was hormonal changes or weight loss as my left one seems to be smaller than usual too which does sound even stranger but my partner thinks its a lot smaller too and it doesnt fit in my bra anymore (there is extra room).

      My theory is that I lost weight but I didnt really notice until my right breast did this weird getting bigger thing its doing. It happened during my last period - my left breast didnt get sore like they usually do, just my right one...and it didnt seem to go away like it usually does too. Its almost like my right breast is responding to normal female hormonal fluctuatuins thorugout the month but not the left one.

      Thanks again,

      Tanya

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      December 15, 2012
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      December 15, 2012

      The effexor and the soy milk could well be related to your changes even though you have been on them for a while.  Sometimes our bodies develop an intolerance to a food or medicine that was fine before.  The confusing thing, of course, is that you are seeing the changes on just one side.

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