I'm 45 years old,female, & never been pregnant.Been having off/on pain behind/under my left breast and under left arm in the underarm area for about year and a half. At about the same time I started having perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes and my periods went from 28 days apart to 21. I'm not on any medications or HRT. 12 wks ago, I was having extreme shoulder pain around the top of my left shoulder which I think was caused by a new exercise I did in which I raised both my arms over my head while lying down. Felt an excruciatng pain in my left shoulder when trying the exer. for the 1st time.I had the shoulder xrayed and it came back negative. Dr thinks the shoulder pain due to a torn rotator cuff. At the same time that I had the shlder pain, underarm pain got really bad for about a week. Currently having off/on shou, underarm,and forearm pain and some hand numbness.Whenever I roll over on that arm, it wakes me up because it's painful. I mention all this in case it is related to my breast pain. Since the pain started, I've had 2 mammos, one in Oct 2002 and another in Oct. 2003. a chest xray, and chest CT. All have come back negative. 2 Drs performed breast exams on me and they felt nothing abnormal. My Dr wanted to send me for another screening mammogram but after talking to the lady at the Breast Care Center here she said I should be having a diagnostic mammo. since I am having pain. So I am going in for a diagnostic mammo. next week.Is it normal to have on/off breast pain and underarm pain for this long? Do you think I should have additional tests done?
Dear desert girl: Breast cancer is not usually painful. If the breast exams and mammograms are negative, then it is unlikely that cancer is the problem. Having said that, a breast specialist may be able to help you sort out your breast pain. Regarding the other pain you are having, it sounds orthopedic. If you have a torn rotator cuff (which would be confirmed by MRI), it can cause inflammation that could be pressing on a nerve and causing your forearm pain and numbness. You might consider an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to look into whether the shoulder is actually the source of more of your pain.
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