By Pam Stephan
Updated February 13, 2012
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.
Breast pain (mastalgia) can occur in anyone with breast tissue -- including men! Women may start experiencing breast pain at puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and even during menopause. Whether you have pain in both breasts or in one breast, there's no need to panic -- breast cancer seldom causes breast pain. Hormonal changes, weight gain, or benign anatomical changes within the breast may cause pain. Learn what type of pain you have and then use the right treatment to get relief.
When breast cancer does cause pain, it is rare. Most breast tumors themselves don’t create pain, but some of the treatments -– surgery, drugs, and radiation –- may cause pain. Be sure to let your doctor and nurses know when you have treatment-related pain, as this can be relieved so that you can continue to receive your cancer treatments.
In metastatic breast cancer, pain may be caused by cancer cells in bones, nerves, or organs. This can be relieved by targeted radiation. Your oncologist can prescribe a variety of drugs to help with metastatic cancer pain. Holistic therapies, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, and guided imagery, may help alleviate pain also, without creating unwanted side effects.
No matter what kind of pain you’re having, discuss it with your health care team and get help. You don't always have to suffer!
Breast Pain; Pp. 77-85. Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. Susan M. Love, M.D. Fifth Edition, 2010.
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