Knowing about breast cancer is important, but it’s also important to know about other breast disorders that can commonly occur. Having pain in your breast does not always mean you have breast cancer. In fact, only 7-10% of patients with early stage breast cancer experience breast pain. However, since these disorders can develop into malignant tumors, and potentially cancer, an understanding of the symptoms and continuous observation is essential.
Symptoms and Disorders
1. Common Symptoms of the Breasts
- Breast Pain
Breast pain is understood as a reaction of breast tissues to hormonal changes. Therefore, even healthy people experience breast pain before menstruation. But treatment and examination are needed if the pain continues for more than a week, along with feeling a lump.
- Breast Lumps
Lumps are the most common symptom of breast cancer. However, most lumps are benign tumors such as fibroadenomas and cysts and are rarely breast cancer. You don’t need to be anxious if you can feel a lump but it is important to identify the cause through medical treatment.
- Nipple Discharge
Fluid that leaks from one or both nipples is known as nipple discharge. If you are pregnant or have given birth, there can be a small amount of nipple discharge naturally. Squeezing the nipple too hard can lead to damage of the milk ducts. Nipple discharge can also be a symptom of breast cancer, therefore you should seek treatment from a breast specialist if there is a discharge from only one nipple, or one duct, or if the discharge is mixed with blood.
2. Breast Disorders That Aren't Cancer
- Mastitis and Breast Abscess
- Mastitis is an inflammation caused by the infection of the breast tissue. Abscess of the breast is an advanced stage of mastitis that can cause a collection of pus along with the other symptoms.
- Symptoms: Breasts are red or hard and painful. Fever and chills. As it progresses, a soft lump is formed due to the collection of pus.
- The most common breast disease in young women. It mostly disappears over time but continuous observation is needed as it can develop into cancer.
- Symptoms: Sharp pain in the breast, more severe before menstruation. There are cases in which there is no pain. A lump about the size of an eraser in the breast feels like it is moving back and forth.
- This refers to the mass (lump) formed in the duct of the nipples.
- Symptoms: A lump that can be felt around the nipples, nipple discharge.
- Symptoms of breast disorders can occur even if it is not cancer.
- However, these can potentially develop into cancer and so require management though self-inspection.