FROM OUR EXPERTS
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...
Education is a wonderful thing, but too much knowledge can be frightening. Back in the days when no one had heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a red spot on the breast that looked like a bug bite didn't worry anyone. Of course, some women died because they didn't check with their doctors, but most of the time that bug bite cleared up in a few days.
Now many women have seen a TV news story about IBC in which two patients described their initial symptoms as looking like bug bites, and they write or call in panic afraid they have cancer. I talked to one frightened woman on a toll-free IBC line where I volunteer from time to time. As we talked, it turned out that she had just returned from a camping trip and had mosquito bites on her breast.
Others have Googled a description of their rash and gotten hits for breast cancer along with a world of panic. The breasts are subject to all kinds of rashes, most of which are not dangerous, so how can you tell what you have and when to c...
You should know
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