I Have Breast Tenderness And Swollen Armpit Glands. Should I Have A Mammogram?

Question

Asked by Reeree

I Have Breast Tenderness And Swollen Armpit Glands. Should I Have A Mammogram?

For the past month my breasts have been very tender. Also, the glands beneath my right armpit are swollen and sore, and my right breast hurts if I bend or lift my arms. I'm not pregnant. I'm getting some blood work done to see if there's an infection somewhere. Do I also need a mammogram? I'm 27, and breast cancer runs in my family.

Answer

It sounds like there might be two separate issues going on here. Breast tenderness, when it happens in both breasts, usually has hormones as its root cause. And not only pregnancy causes the hormonal swings responsible for breast pain and tenderness: your normal menstrual cycle can do the same thing. So tenderness in both breasts wouldn't be a typical breast cancer symptom.

The least likely cause of breast pain is probably breast cancer, since most breast cancers are painless, unless advanced. So what's causing this pain? Breast pain, especially when it's in one breast, can come from scar tissue pressing on a nerve. It can also signal an infection - mastitis, or an abscess. Since you're experiencing swollen glands in your armpit, you might very well have an infection in your breast. Thus it's good you're having some testing done. And if the blood work doesn't show an infection, your doctor may order a mammogram, just in case.

At your age, your risk of breast cancer is very small. And, unless your family history includes your mom or a sister with breast cancer, your risk isn't appreciably increased. So please don't stress too much about cancer; just follow through with the testing, and hopefully the results will reveal something that can be easily treated.

Answered by PJ Hamel