My Left Breast Has Suddenly Become Enlarged And Painful. What Could Cause This?

Question

Asked by pinkado

My Left Breast Has Suddenly Become Enlarged And Painful. What Could Cause This?

I'm 28, and a month ago I noticed pain in my left breast. In the last two weeks, the breast has swollen a whole cup size. It looks a bit bruised toward the nipple, and it's a bit warm also. My doc has put me in for a mammogram and blood tests, but they'll take 2 weeks; she says it could be hormonal, but suspects cancer. Do I have inflammatory breast cancer? What else would cause one breast to suddenly show these symptoms?

Answer

First, has the doctor checked for mastitis, or an infection? Usually, with symptoms such as you describe, your doctor would put you on a course of antibiotics. If s/he hasn't done this, then I'd call and ask why not.

Also, if your doctor seriously suspects cancer, waiting 2 weeks for a mammogram sounds unusual. If your doctor was truly seriously concerned about inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), you'd begin testing immediately.

Rather than spend 2 weeks worrying about this, start by calling your doctor back and getting some clarification about whether this could be a simple infection that would respond to a course of antibiotics. If she's considered this and rejected it, for what you'd consider a good reason, then ask if the possibility of IBC exists. If s/he believes it does, then ask if the diagnostic process can be speeded up.