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Monday, January 26, 2009 Jill, Community Member, asks

Q: Breast feels warm

One of my breasts feels warm. It's not red, not itchy, not inflammed. Could this be cancer?

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Answers (2)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/27/09 6:16am

Jill, when a "hot" breast is accompanied by inflammation, redness, and swelling, it can be a symptom of an infection or a relatively rare type of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.  If this symptom has lasted longer than a menstrual period, I'd suggest seeing a doctor.  If it's something new, I'd suggest watching to see what happens.  Our bodies have lots of transient sensations that aren't dangerous.  When I develop something that could be worrisome, I write down the date and a description of what's happening.  Then I forget it.  Usually a week later, the symptom is gone, and I'm fine.  If it's still there or getting worse, I have an accurate record of when it started to tell the doctor.  Call the doctor right away if you do develop redness or swelling.

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lihalee, Community Member
9/27/10 8:59pm

I have the same problem but mine has been going  over a month. I don't have redness or a rash or swelling but I do have strange tingling at the nipples and side of the breast near armpit. My doctor says its nerve endings but how can nerve endings affect temperature of breasts. I had a breast ultrasound which showed nothing except fibrocystic breasts. Should I request a breast MRI

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
9/27/10 9:46pm

If this warm, tingly feeling is an early symptom of an infection or inflammatory breast cancer, you would soon see additional symptoms.  If it has stayed essentially the same for a month, then I wouldn't worry unless the sensation is so severe that you can't concentrate on other things.  If it has been getting worse, or if you see new symptoms like redness or swelling, you definitely need to ask for a referral to a breast specialist to see if a MRI would be the best way to find out what is going on.  

At this point, you have one doctor's opinion that it is nerve related, so if you are not satisfied with his explanation, talking to a neurologist (nerve doctor) might shed some light on why you are experiencing a change.  Your description does not sound like typical breast cancer.  Only you know how much this symptom is bothering you, so only you know whether you need additional testing.  

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lihalee, Community Member
11/ 3/10 8:52pm

I went to a breast specialist. I kind of made a diary about what has been happening  and he has referred me to have an MRI done.  Would an MRI pick up a that is a breast inflammatory cancer or is a biopsy a more definitive test.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 3/10 9:18pm

An MRI can pick up small differences in your breast "topography" that a mammogram or ultrasound might miss; but ultimately, a biopsy is the only test that can diagnose cancer for sure. I hope your MRI yields nothing questionable; but if it does, don't panic. About 50% of "suspicious" findings on an MRI ultimately end up to be nothing to worry about. Good luck - PJH

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lihalee, Community Member
11/15/10 9:05am

Last week I had such serious arm pain and now my breast is swollen. My bra is tight. I think my doctor is still expecting to see a red swollen breast with a rash but of course from what I have read IBC can present itself in different ways. Nevertheless I am due for a breast MRI on Thursday but let me tell you the waiting is driving me crazy. I am a nervous wreck, I can barely function at work

Mt mind is racing I live in the Caribbean not in North America where there has been so much development where the treatment of IBC is concerned.

I am very,very scared

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/15/10 7:05pm

I'm glad that your doctor took your symptoms seriously enough to do an MRI to find out more information about what is causing your pain.  I've read letters from hundreds of women who had IBC, and what you describe certainly would not be a typical IBC presentation.  Obviously something is wrong, but it is too soon to narrow down your worry to a particular diagnosis.  It's normal to dread a test like an MRI.  I recently had to have some tests to see if my cancer had recurred, and I did worry.  I used meditation and prayer to help calm me down, but if you cannot calm yourself down enough to do your work, ask your doctor for a medication to help you.  Even if the doctors find an area that needs a biopsy, most of the time, the problem is not cancer.  My tests gave me a clean bill of health, so I wasted a lot of time worrying.  I hope you get a good report too.

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lihalee, Community Member
11/16/10 6:00pm

thank you for taking the time to answer my emails, I really do appreciate. I guess I am very worried that my breast is always warm and now its swollen so I am worried about that but yes I do hope that I get a good report too

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/16/10 7:32pm

Let us know what your find out.

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roxi, Community Member
11/21/10 10:32pm

I have been feeling the warm sensation that you are discribing I am worried I am in my 40s I feel  llike somebody is injecting warm water inside myleft breast, is not red or inflamed , tomorrow i am going to make an appoitment to see a doctor i will post the outcome...

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/22/10 5:44am

We will be interested to hear what you find out.  I hope everything checks out A-OK.

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lihalee, Community Member
11/22/10 9:30am

I got my MRI results back there is a lump.  My doctor doesn't think its IBC but my breast is still swollen so we are going to do a needle biopsy on the lump but is that  the right kind of biopsy to do or should it be a skin biopsy

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/22/10 7:08pm

Because they found a lump, it makes sense to check that out with a biopsy.  Keep in mind that MRI's frequently find false positive results, and that the vast majority of biopsied lumps are not cancer.  The priority for right now is finding out what that lump is, but do ask the surgeon whether the needle biopsy will include a skin sample.  By definition, inflammatory breast cancer means that there are cancer cells in the lymph vessels of the skin of the breast, so it would be ideal to have your skin checked too.  I hope you get a good report.

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lihalee, Community Member
11/22/10 7:25pm

I will certainly ask him that question?

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lihalee, Community Member
11/24/10 7:00pm

Ok my doctor and I had a long chat and he does not think I need a biopsy. The MRI shows that both breasts have a mixed fatty and dense patterns.  There is no mass and no evidence of inflammatory process.  On the post contrast images the only abnormality is a mass and it is most likely to be a fibroadenoma. He thinks my swelling could be hormonal but will do the biopsy if I insist.  I have decided nevertheless to do the biopsy

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/24/10 8:21pm

Well, a biops is the only way to know for sure that the lump isn't cancer; so, since this has got you pretty stressed, that's probably the best course of action. Best of luck to you - hope you get good results. PJH

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By Jill, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/23/14, First Published: 01/26/09