Dear Mar_Ann, What we look for in a breast exam are changes in the breast. Particularly having "lumpy breasts" you would want to do self-breast exam on a regular basis (the same time every month) and if you notice a change, for example a new lump notify your doctor for further evaluation. It is also important to have a regular clinical breast exam by your doctor, again what is being looked for are changes. A new lump should always be evaluated.
Breast pain is a common breast symptom. The reason for breast pain is not clearly understood, and is not usually associated with breast cancer. Breast pain is sometimes associated with hormonal variations and is then called cyclical breast pain. Noncyclical breast pain does not seem to be linked to hormonal variations and is often localized to one area of the breast tissue. Noncyclical breast pain may or may not be the result of an injury to the breast.
Breast pain is evaluated based on the history of the pain you would give to the health care professional, as well as a physical examination. The need for further testing would be determined based on the above findings. Some recommendations for treatment of breast pain involve simple comfort measures such as a supportive or exercise bra, or application of warm or cold packs. Caffeine avoidance, limit salt intake and reduction of dietary fat may also help.
You mention that an "oncologist" performed the biopsy, leading us to wonder if you have a personal history of cancer? or did you mean your gynecologist or a radiologist?
I have the same problem and took some water pills (can't remember what they were called) which help a great deal. My breast felt like rocks usually a few days before my periods and very painful. I've been told it is caused by an excess water theat fills up these lumps and create the pain. The pills help get rid of that excess water but you will be running a little bit to the washroom to get rid of it.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the information on cyclical breast pain. I'm hoping that's all it is and is related to my hormones/menstrual cycle. I'll discuss it with my doctor in August. As far as my lumpy breasts, I do monthly self-breast exams but I really cannot tell the difference. Sometimes the lumps do feel bigger, especially in my left breast, but then sometimes they don't. Can they change in size like that? My right breast feels lumpy too but doesn't have the big lumps like my left one does (which feel like mushy marbles).
When I went for the biopsy, my appointment was with a surgical oncologist at the cancer center. I was referred to this doctor by my gynocologist. You know how it is these days...gotta have a referral to even see a doctor. Should I have seen someone else? My mammogram and ultrasound were done by staff in the breast cancer clinic and then the results were diagnosed by the doctors there.....but then I went back to the oncologist for follow-ups and the biopsy.
My breast are both different when it comes to lumps and bumps. I do the self examination also and I feel like you do, it is very hard to determine if lumps have change or are they swollen from retaining the water? My advice is keep on checking I figure if something changes I will notice. Even though I check myself I do make an appointment once a year or more if I have any concerns to get the doctor to check. Never hurts to have the doctor check also since it is so hard to determine myself.
By all means, have the lumps checked in Aug. at your regular visit. But your description of your history of painful breasts, health, breast lumps and lifestyle could be my own, and when I felt the "questionable" lump, I definitely knew the difference. I lost my Mom, sister and an aunt to breast cancer, and checked my breasts on a regular basis. I found "my lump" and you'll find that IF you ever have one yourself, there is a different feel than all of your other lumps.
A related discussion, breast pain and treatment options
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