Breast pain does not always mean breast cancer. Other conditions can cause discomfort and pain. Swelling and tenderness could happen for a number of reasons. At UVA Health, you'll find caring providers with the experience needed to make the right diagnosis. We offer breast care you can trust.
Breast Pain: Mastalgia
Sometimes, hormones imbalance can cause too much breast gland tissue to grow. The resulting pain, called mastalgia, can happen to men, women, and transgender people. It can come and go or stay all the time.
If you can track the amount of pain and when it happens, your provider will have a clearer idea of the best way to help.
Is This Breast Lump Cancer?
Finding a lump in your breast can be scary. But not all breast lumps are cancer.
You could have:
- Enlarged milk glands, or adenosis
- Thickened, wide milk ducts, or duct ectasia
- Tumors made of tissues, or fibroadenomas
- Blocked milk ducts
- Oil cysts and fat necrosis
- Overgrowth of cells in your glands and ducts, or hyperplasia
- Phyllodes tumors
- Wart-like bumps near or in your nipples
- Fibrocystic disease
These conditions can cause skin irritation, discharge, and other symptoms. Having your doctor test your breast pain can help identify the source of the pain and a path to relief.
Breast Pain from Breastfeeding
When you're breastfeeding a baby, your breasts go through a lot of changes. The cycle of milk production plus an influx of hormones can make your breasts swell, ache, and feel tender to the touch.
Infections can happen, too, called mastitis. Bacteria find their way in through cracks in your skin. You'll want to let your doctor know if you have:
- Nipple discharge
You'll want to get antibiotics. An untreated infection can lead to a more painful abscess.
Fibrocystic Breasts & Hormonal Fluctuations
More than half of all women get swollen, lumpy, or painful breasts before or during their period. This happens because hormones related to your period produce cysts and thicken tissue in your breasts.
Fibrocystic disease, as it used to be called, doesn't mean cancer. You might feel pain. If lumps worry you, see a breast care provider. A mammogram can determine the source of the issue.
Breast Surgery: Reduction & Augmentation
You may find yourself needing breast surgery. At UVA Health, you'll find plastic surgery experts to help you develop a plan for improvement and recovery.
Learn more about our breast surgery services.
Is it Breast Cancer?
The only way to know is to get screened. At UVA Health, we have 3D mammograms and other technologies so that you get the right screening for you.