I Have A Sharp Shooting Pain In My Breast. Could It Be Cancer?

Question

Asked by Jenny

I Have A Sharp Shooting Pain In My Breast. Could It Be Cancer?

I'm having horrible sharp pain in my right breast. I'm especially worried because in three generations of my father's family, there've been six cases of breast cancer, two of them fatal. I have a doctor's appointment next week

Answer

With a family history of breast cancer, it's good to be cautious. That said, a family history of breast cancer only elevates your risk significantly if your mom, a sister, or a daughter had breast cancer; and it sounds like that's not the case here.

Breast pain - even severe breast pain - isn't typically a sign of cancer. While the occasional woman with breast pain does end up being diagnosed with breast cancer, pain more commonly comes from a different source. You might have a cyst that's suddenly grown larger, and is pressing on a nerve. The same nerve pressure might happen from scar tissue, the result of an old injury. Even the hormonal swings typical of fibrocystic change can sometimes result in fairly severe pain - especially just prior to your period. Hopefully your doctor will be able to administer the tests that rule out (or identify) these potential causes. If your GP is unable to help, don't give up. Sometimes family-practice doctors simply don't have enough experience with breast issues to reach a solid conclusion. If this is the case, ask for a referral to a breast specialist for a second opinion. There's no need for you to continue experiencing severe pain; it may be up to you, however, to push for resolution.

Answered by PJ Hamel