Breast pain is one of the most common concerns that we evaluate in the Center for Breast Care. While rarely a sign of cancer—less than three percent of patients with breast pain are found to have cancer—breast pain affects women of all ages. It is often difficult to pinpoint the cause of pain because there are so many potential triggers. If you are concerned about pain that you are feeling in your breasts, contact the Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care.
We recommend you seek care if:
- You have new breast pain that does not go away after a few weeks. If your menstrual cycle is expected within this time frame, try to wait until your cycle has ceased. If the pain remains, call for evaluation.
- There is pain, swelling, redness or warmth in one breast but not the other
- You notice a skin texture change on your breasts
- You feel a lump
- There is discharge from a nipple you have not squeezed
Remember: Bilateral breast pain may be an early alert to pregnancy. Consider an at-home pregnancy test if this is a possibility.
Chart your pain
Keeping track of your breast pain can help your provider figure out why you have breast pain. Make sure to jot down notes on a chart or in a diary each time it occurs. Observations you can note that will assist your provider:
- Is the pain in one or both breasts?
- Is the pain in one spot or is it throughout the entire breast?
- Is the pain constant or intermittent? Is there a cyclic pattern to the pain?
- What type of exercise/ aerobic activity do you participate in? How often?
- Can you recall a specific trauma or injury to the breast/chest wall area?