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Thursday, January 21, 2010 Terrified, Community Member, asks

Q: My left breast is sore and tender.What can it be if not cancer?

Hi! I am a thirty four year old female who has been experiencing breast pain in my left breast, for a couple of months. So, I went to the doctor and he found a lump,in the lower quadrant. It is halfway between the armpit and the nipple. It is the size of the width of your finger. I have been checking my breast and couldn't and cannot feel the lump. I am scheduled for an ultrasound. I didn't go to the doctor sooner because my breast stay tender and I am a twenty-one day cycler. So, they seem to get back sore as soon as the pain is relieved. I am terrified that I may have waited too long. The doctor's assistant said that it was a good sign because it helps when I take Ibuprofen. I also take vitamin E, do they really help and what does it mean if they do help? If this is not breast cancer, then what could it be? Also, can you tell me more about IBC? Every now and then, my nipple will itch or seem to tingle, should I be worried about this? Please help! I am terrified.

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/21/10 6:46pm

OK, Terrified - first thing: take a deeeeeep breath. Even if you DO hve cancer (which is very unlikely), treatment these days is so good, chances are you'd be back to "normal" sooner than you'd think.


But let's not go there. A sore breast can be (and usually is) the result of a cyst, or fibrocystic change, or hormones (or pregnancy). Only very rarely would it be due to cancer - and then, your breast would get progressively worse (swollen, hot, red, infected-looking), and ibuprofen wouldn't help it.


I'm glad you're having the lump you found examined; it may or may not be related to the soreness. It's always good to take breast lumps and other breast changes seriously, but as I said, very seldom do they turn out to be cancer. So stay positive; try to relax; and I hope you'll get good news from your tests. Good luck - PJH

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By Terrified, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/16/10, First Published: 01/21/10