ZocdocAnswersDo I have breast cancer?

Question

Do I have breast cancer?

I'm an 18 year old female and i'm worried about breast changes. Over the past few months i've been having breast pain and sometimes itching on and off and fairly constant tenderness in my left breast. My left breast has also gotten bigger than my right recently. Should i be worried about cancer?

Answer

Given your age, I would think it is very unlikely that you have breast cancer, unless you have an extensive family history of breast cancer. The best thing to do would be to discuss this issue with your primary care or OB GYN doctor. What you’re describing may be symptomatic of “fibrocystic breast disease” which can result in unequal enlargement of the breast with cyclical pain corresponding to your menstrual cycle. Breast cancer can often be more subtle. For example, it may feel like a lump or mass in the breast. Usually this appears asymmetrically and becomes progressively worse and can be accompanied by an enlarged lymph node in the armpit or neck. Breast size, shape, and skin color or texture may alter. Some women notice dimpling of the skin over the cancer, like an orange's peel, or there may be scaliness or redness. The nipple may get inverted. Breast cancer affects nearly half a million women worldwide. It is the most common cancer among women in the U.S., affecting about one out of eight woman over the age of 50 years old. The majority of breast cancer screenings usually start in a woman’s 50’s with a clinical exam and X-ray (mammogram). If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family then your doctor may recommend that you begin screening earlier than that. Regardless, you should definitely see your primary care or OB GYN doctor as soon as possible. Good luck!

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