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Breast Cancer

Breast drainage and pain in only one breast

12/04/2002

Question:

I am 37 years old last year I noticed a white drainage from the left breast and went to my doctor, the mammogram was normal. I had discomfort in that breast even after the drainage stopped, this year when I went for the follow up mammogram I`ve got word that they have found a nodule in that breast-how worried should I be?

Answer:

Thank you for writing about your concern. First, I want to discuss the discharge you did have for the purpose of other readers. Nipple discharge is normal with some women, especially with breast self exam when the nipple is squeezed. The discharge can be milky white, or green, gray and sometimes brown. Women on birth control medications, women who take antihypertensives or tranquilizers may be prone to discharge because the medications increase prolactin levels in the body. The time to worry and go to the doctor with breast discharge is when it is continuous without squeezing and only on one side. The discharge could indicate non malignant growth in the lining of the duct or precancer cells that block the duct. Now to answer your specific question. You need to find put what this nodule is with a biopsy. It can be a benign (non cancerous) nodule such as a intraductal papilloma, a cyst, or fibroadenoma or a precancerous nodule. Tell your doctor you want to find out what it is with a biopsy. 

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Response by:

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