Q. My breast swelled up and was hot and painful to the touch. My doctor treated me for mastitis, but it turned out to be inflammatory breast cancer. I think other women should be aware that not all breast cancers start with a lump. A. That’s right. Inflammatory breast cancer does look a lot like mastitis, an infection of the breast that can have many causes. Mastitis is more common when you’re breast-feeding; and some women have a lifelong proclivity to bouts of mastitis. But if you’re experiencing a swollen, hot, painful, red breast for the first time, ask your doctor to carefully consider inflammatory breast cancer, and to test for it. Previous Breast Cancer Symptom: Lump Under Arm Back to Start of Illustrated Symptom FAQs
You’ve found a lump in your breast. Or there’s swelling in your armpit. Perhaps your nipples are itchy, you’ve got a stubborn rash, or your breasts are sore and painful. Could this be cancer? Luckily, the answer to that scary question is, “Probably not.” The vast majority of breast issues don’t involve cancer. From normal changes involved with your monthly cycle, to harmless (though potentially painful) cysts, to simple infections and skin rashes, changes you notice in your breasts can be irritating and painful, but rarely are they cancer symptoms. Still, the #1 rule for maintaining breast health is this: notice any changes, track them, and decide whether you need to see a doctor right away, or can wait and see if they resolve themselves. The following posts will help you identify what your particular symptom or symptoms might mean; and help you determine whether to see a doctor right away, or whether it’s OK to wait awhile and see if the issue re...
A reader wrote in concerned that she might have inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Although she had three of the symptoms of IBC--redness, swelling, and warmth--her doctors were confident that she couldn't have IBC. She did not have the characteristic skin dimpling of IBC, and only part of her breast was affected. Yet five antibiotics had not diminished her symptoms. Finally they decided to biopsy.
The results were astonishing! Her doctors were right. She did not have IBC. She had an internal malignancy that had escaped detection from earlier imaging tests. Cancer deep in the breast does not typically show itself with infection-like symptoms on the surface of the breast, but it did in her case. Her body clearly had not read the textbook!
A friend of ours was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer in her knee that usually appears in the spinal cord. Her diagnosis was delayed because her body hadn't read the textbook.
This kind of...
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