For months my left nipple has been very itchy. There is no discharge and no rash. Then, a week ago, my left breast started hurting. Mostly a dull ache with occasional stabbing pain in the same spot. I am 48 years old, have 2 children, had a complete hysterectomy a month before my 30th birthday, am not on HRT, and have had a benign biopsy of the left breast back in '94. My mother had a radical mastectomy at the age of 50. Her first symptom was itchiness in the nipple, although she also had some scaling. She had cancer of the milk glands as well as a cancerous lump. I have been told that I am prone to polycystic mastitis, although I've never experienced the itching of the nipple before. Is there cause to worry?
Dear hilsmom, 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. Asymmetrical breast tissue just means there are differences in the tissue from one breast to the other. However it is difficult to make an assessment of symptoms without examination and asking questions. It is best to bring your concern to the attention of your doctor who can evaluate your symptoms in context of examination and further testing if indicated.
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