Breast Problems

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What it feels like: varies from pain, tenderness, enlargement, orlumps to discharge from the nipple.

What can make it worse: different phases of the menstrual cycle,nursing, trauma.

Your Doctor Visit

What your doctor will ask you about: enlargement, pain, dis-charge, lumps, change in skin color, excessive milk production, fever,chills, mammography, swelling or lumps in the armpit.

Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your familyhas had any of these conditions: pregnancy, tuberculosis, nervoussystem disease, breast cancer, benign cystic disease, alcoholism, liverdisease.

Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: oral contraceptives, digoxin, phenothiazines such as Haldol, spironolactone (Aldactone), diphenylhydantoin (Dilantin),cimetidine (Tagamet).

Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: thorough breast exam, checking lymph nodes under yourarms, and, in males, checking testes for size and firmness.

WHAT CAN CAUSE BREAST PROBLEMS, AND WHAT IS TYPICAL FOR EACH CAUSE?

Breast Enlargement

Cause: Puberty
What is it: Period of becoming  sexually mature, or  capable of reproducing
Typcal sypmyoms: Enlargement of one or both breasts, common and normal in male and female adolescents

Cause: Long-term use  of certain  medications
What is it: Use of spironolactone  (Aldactone), digoxin   (Lanoxin), diphenylhydantoin (Dilantin), cimetidine (Tagamet)
Typcal sypmyoms: Breast enlargement in adult  men

Cause: Liver disease
What is it: Includes hepatitis and  cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
Typcal sypmyoms: Breast enlargement in adult  men, jaundice (skin taking  on a yellowish appear-ance), alcoholism, smalland soft testicles

Cause: Testicular cancer
What is it: An abnormal growth of   cells in the testicles
Typcal sypmyoms: Breast enlargement in adult  men, firm mass in the testicles

Lumps or Masses

Cause: Cystic mastitis
What is it: Fluid-filled sacs in the  breast
Typcal sypmyoms: Lumps in the breast, usually becoming painful beforeeach menstrual period

Cause: Cancer
What is it: An abnormal growth of  cells in the breast
Typcal sypmyoms: Family history of breast  cancer, lump with an illdefined border, sometimeswith dimpling of the overlying skin

Breast Pain

Cause:  Hormonal  engorgement
What is it: Swelling of breast tissue   in response to hormonal changes
Typcal sypmyoms: Pain or tenderness in early  pregnancy or during certain phases of menstrualcycle, pain sometimesaggravated by oral contraceptives

Cause: Mastitis
What is it: Inflammation in the  breast, often caused byan infection
Typcal sypmyoms: Fever, tender and swollen  breasts, discharge, more  common among nursingwomen

Nipple Discharge

Cause: Cancer
What is it: An abnormal growth of  cells in the breast
Typcal sypmyoms: Itching, scaling, discharge  (which may includeblood), lumps in the breastand under the armpits;later in the disease, theskin may become affected

Cause: Phenothiazines
What is it: Use of drugs such as  Haldol
Typcal sypmyoms: Clear or white discharge  from the nipples

Cause: Puberty
What is it: Part of normal development, in the early teens
Typcal sypmyoms: Clear or white discharge  from the nipples