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Breast Cancer

Breast Pain VS Chest Pain?

12/15/2000

Question:

When a woman has pain near where her left breast starts, how can she tell, if it is breast pain, or chest pain? The pain I am experiencing does not include shortness of breath, tingling in the arms, sweating, etc. It is quite uncomfortable, & painful, & I am wise enough to know to call for help immediately, should I need to. (I am 39) Also, what are the stastics for pain/ no pain in the breast area being cancerous? I have had a lumpectomy from my right breast & had no pain (beging tumor) at all. Wondering what the odds are that this is just a call for the Mammographer & Not a Cardiologist? Thank You,

Answer:

A little more information about the characteristics of your pain would be helpful. I will presume this pain began recently and has not been cyclical. Cyclical pain is usually due to hormone variations and affects both breasts. At different times of your life, hormone levels change. Breast pain can be more intense in the teen years and also in a woman`s 40`s. There is another type of breast pain called noncyclical pain that does not vary with hormone levels. This type is usually present most of the time. The cause is not clear. The third type of pain is called costochrondritis which is arthritis where the ribs and breastbone connect.

The only way you will know what is causing the pain as well as treatment to relieve it, is to see a physician. If you have not had a mammogram, it is time to get your first one. The mammogram plus a good physical exam should reassure you about the cause of the pain. Thank you for your question.

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Response by:

Janet   Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD Janet Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati