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
Q. I have this scaly rash right around my nipple. That couldn’t be a sign of cancer, could it? A. Yes, it could. Or it could be a plain old rash. But any time your nipple changes, it’s worth a call to the doctor. Changes might include the following; • A nipple that’s suddenly inverted (pulled in, rather than sticking out); • A change in the shape of your nipple; • A spontaneous discharge (i.e., you don’t have to squeeze your breast for it to appear), other than milk. Special signs to watch for include the discharge coming from only one breast; if it’s tinged with blood; or if it’s clear and sticky. In addition, a rare form of breast cancer, Paget’s disease, starts with a red, scaly, itchy rash, over and around the nipple and areola. It may scab over; it looks a lot like eczema, and is often misdiagnosed. Have it checked; your doctor may decide it’s eczema, and treat it with a rub-on cream. If that works, ...
One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it's still rare. It's unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.
If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:
a lump felt in the breast
an inverted nipple
nipple discharge (clear or bloody)
sores on the nipple and areola (the small ring of color around the center of the nipple)
enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
It's important to note that enlargement of both breasts (not just on one side) is usually NOT cancer. The medical term for this is gynecomastia. Sometimes the breasts can become quite large. Non-cancer-related enlargement of the breasts can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol use, weight gain, or m...
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