Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Could the pain in my armpit be breast cancer?"

ZocdocAnswersCould the pain in my armpit be breast cancer?


I?m starting to think I have a tumor or something. I?m a healthy female in my twenties, but I had an ache in my armpit that spread to my left breast. Is there a chance I have breast cancer?


To put your mind at rest, the chances this is breast cancer is pretty low given that you are healthy and young. Pain is not a common early symptom of breast cancer. That being said, any persistent symptoms should be evaluated by your physician. The most likely cause of this aching pain is a strained muscles. This could occur for a variety of reasons, including lifting heavy objects, sleeping in a funny position, or exercising vigorously. Resting the area and taking an anti inflammatory medication may help. Another possibility is that the ache is from stretching of the breast tissue itself. This is common especially in women with larger breasts and may require making sure that your bra is properly supporting the breasts. Again, cyclical breast tenderness is common, especially that comes and goes about a week or so before the menstruation. This can be alleviated with rest, avoiding salty foods (which cause fluid retention), avoiding caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol, and taking an anti inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naprosyn. If none of these strategies work, then getting in to see your doctor is advised. They will perform a thorough examination of the breasts to make sure there is nothing else going on.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.