I've Had An Itchy Breast For Some Time Now. Could It Be Cancer?

Question

Asked by d_heuser

I've Had An Itchy Breast For Some Time Now. Could It Be Cancer?

I just read an article about itchy breasts being a dangerous form of cancer. My right breast has had a very annoying itch for awhile now. I saw my doctor, but he didn't seem concerned. There are no crusty sores or rash, just constant itching. Do I need to see the doctor again?

Answer

Itchy breasts can be a symptom of cancer - though only rarely.  Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and Paget's disease of the breast are two forms of breast cancer that may include itching as a symptom. IBC usually presents with a combination of symptoms like swelling, redness, dimpling, pain, and/or itching.  Most people eventually diagnosed with IBC have several of these symptoms, and they develop quickly. Paget's usually has a scaly rash around the nipple. Together, though, these diseases account for less than 10% of all breast cancer diagnoses; so statistically speaking, an itchy breast is unlikely to be a sign of cancer.

However, itching can be a symptom of dry skin, irritation, an allergy, and plenty of other problems that aren't dangerous. Think of it this way: if this itchiness were on your arm or thigh, how would you deal with it, and worried would you be? If the only symptom you have is itching, and since you've already checked with the doctor, I don't think you need to get another opinion.  If you do develop new symptoms - swelling, breast pain, constant redness - be assertive in getting your doctor to do some tests to find out exactly what's going on.

Answered by Phyllis Johnson