Breast Pain – Is breast pain a symptom of cancer? Learn more about what to look for.
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Mastodynia, mastalgia or mammalgia are names for a medical symptom that means – pain in the breast (from the Greek masto-, breast and algos, pain).
Mastalgia is breast pain and is generally classified as either cyclical (associated with menstrual periods) or noncyclical. Noncyclical pain may come from the breast or may come from somewhere else, such as nearby muscles or joints, and may be felt in the breast. Pain can range from minor discomfort to severely incapacitating pain in some cases. Many women with mastalgia worry more about the fear of cancer than about the pain itself.
It can be subdivided into 2 main clinical patterns:
Breast cancer is, in 19 out of 20 cases, not normally painful in the early stages. New onset of a painless lump should therefore be promptly assessed.
Specific treatment for cyclical breast pain will be determined by your physician(s) based on:
Treatments vary significantly and may include the following:
In some cases, various supplemental hormones and hormone blockers are also prescribed. These may include:
Supplemental hormones and hormone blockers may have side effects. In addition, the risks and benefits of such treatment should be carefully discussed with your physician.
Determining the appropriate treatment for noncyclical breast pain is more difficult, not only because it is hard to pinpoint where the pain is coming from, but also because the pain is not hormonal. Specific treatment for noncyclical breast pain will be determined by your physician(s) based on:
Generally, physicians will perform a physical examination and may order a mammogram. In some cases, a biopsy of the area is also necessary. If it is determined that the pain is caused by a cyst, the cyst will be aspirated. Depending on where the pain originates, treatment may include analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and compresses.
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