“Hey, doctor, it hurts when I do this.”
“Then don’t do that.”
It’s an old joke. (You probably didn’t even laugh, right?) The truth is, that’s not always the best advice.
Breast pain is common. It might reassure you to know breast pain alone is a very uncommon way for breast cancer to present. You might experience tenderness during certain times in your cycle; a small ache can go away on its own. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. It’s often just one part of many things your body goes through on a monthly basis. Sometimes breast pain can be from cysts or fluid filled areas in your breast, and sometimes it can even be related to caffeine. You may have grown to ignore the pain, right? That’s almost okay to do. If the pain is out of the ordinary, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
After a lifetime of living in it, you know your body. If the type and timing of pain you’re feeling isn’t normal, then it’s not something to be ignored. Any time you experience unusual changes in your breasts - including physical pain - it means it’s time to see your doctor or healthcare provider for a clinical breast exam. Your doctor may then send you for a diagnostic mammogram.
The best news is: most often times, the doctor will tell you it’s nothing. But the only way to know is to see your doctor. Having regular breast exams by your doctor and regular every year mammograms once you are 40 are essential to your breast health, allowing your doctors to be able to look for any change when you are having symptoms.
Originally posted 4/24/13 on mammographykc.com.