You’ve found a lump in your breast. Or there’s swelling in your armpit. Perhaps your nipples are itchy, you’ve got a stubborn rash, or your breasts are sore and painful.
Could this be cancer?
Luckily, the answer to that scary question is, “Probably not.”
Breast Changes Seldom Signal Cancer
The vast majority of breast issues don’t involve cancer. From normal changes involved with your monthly cycle, to harmless (though potentially painful) cysts, to simple infections and skin rashes, changes you notice in your breasts can be irritating and painful, but rarely are they cancer symptoms.
Still, the No. 1 rule for maintaining breast health is this: Notice any changes, track them, and decide whether you need to see a doctor right away, or whether you can wait and see if they resolve themselves.
The following articles will help you identify what your particular symptom or symptoms might mean; and help you determine whether to see a doctor right away, or whether it’s OK to wait awhile and see if the issue resolves itself on its own.
Are You Afraid You Might Have Breast Cancer?
First, some general articles dealing with breast cancer fears. If you think you might have a breast cancer symptom — and you’re scared to death — the following posts will help you calm down enough to look at your situation realistically.
If You Think You Might Have Breast Cancer, Read This
Is This Normal? A Teen Guide to Breast Development
Dear Sister: A Message to Young (Under-20) Readers
Breast changes can involve anything from discovery of a lump or significant swelling to simply “a funny feeling.” Check out your symptom in the articles below.
Breast Lump FAQS
Armpit Lumps: Are They Serious?
Noncancerous Breast Lumps: Symptoms and Treatment
Pain or tingling
Understanding Different Types of Breast Pain
The Strange Case of the Vibrating Breast
Itchiness, swelling, and rashes
What Can I Do About My Itchy Breasts?
Inflammatory breast cancer
If you’ve been reading up on symptoms and you suspect inflammatory breast cancer:
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Awareness: Breast Cancer Doesn’t Always Start with a
Rash or Inflammatory Breast Cancer – When Should I Panic?
Nipple Issues: When to Worry, When to Wait
Nipple Discharge: When Should I Worry?
When to See a Doctor
At some point you may decide you need to see a doctor. Here’s some helpful information about various ways to screen for breast cancer – and how to pay for them.
Your First Mammogram: Easy as 1-2-3
FAQS: Having an Ultrasound
No Health Insurance? Breast Cancer Screening on a Budget
Guide to Free Mammograms for Underserved Women