Breast cancer is a serious health concern affecting many women worldwide. Early detection and treatment is crucial to increase survival rates. Although mammograms are the primary screening tests for breast cancer, not all breast cancers can be detected by mammography alone. It's essential to be familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts and be aware of any changes in them. This article provides an overview of breast cancer symptoms and signs, and some of the common reasons why you may experience breast pain.
Breast Cancer Symptoms and Signs
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass, but most breast lumps are not cancerous. A painless, hard mass with an irregular shape is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be soft, round, tender, or even painful. Other symptoms of breast cancer include swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, or discharge.
Why Do My Breasts Hurt? 9 Possible Causes of Breast Pain
Breast pain, also known as "mastalgia," can be a cause for concern, and it's crucial to identify the cause of it. Breast tenderness and discomfort can happen for lots of different reasons. The most common causes of breast pain include cyclical breast pain, hormonal fluctuations, fibrocystic breast changes, fatty acid imbalance, noncyclical breast pain, extramammary breast pain, infection, and injury.
Cyclical Breast Pain
If you experience breast pain that feels achy and heavy, your breasts swell or seem lumpy, and both breasts are affected, mainly the upper and outer areas, you may have cyclical breast pain. This type of breast pain is linked to your menstrual cycle, and it's very common in women in their childbearing years or approaching menopause. Your doctor may recommend oral contraceptives or over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium to ease cyclical breast pain.
Most breast pain seems to relate to the levels of two hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Breast pain can occur at different times in your reproductive life, such as during puberty, your monthly menstrual period or when you have premenstrual syndrome(PMS), in the first trimester of pregnancy, during breastfeeding, and during menopause.
Fibrocystic Breast Changes
Fibrocystic breast changes are characterized by the formation of fibrous tissue (breast tissue that's scar-like) and cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in your breasts. It may be painful, but it's normal and usually harmless. About half of women in their 20s to 50s get it, and you don't need treatment unless your symptoms are severe.
Fatty Acid Imbalance
Breast pain may also be caused by an imbalance of fatty acids in your cells. To reduce your symptoms, try cutting down on animal fat and sugar in your diet. Taking evening primrose oil may also help to correct fatty acid imbalances.
Noncyclical Breast Pain
Noncyclical breast pain is not related to your menstrual cycle and may be linked to other issues. It may feel like soreness, burning, or tightness, and it may affect one breast in a particular area. If you experience noncyclical breast pain, it's important to see your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Extramammary Breast Pain
Extramammary breast pain feels like it's originating from your breasts, but it's radiating from somewhere else, often the chest wall. It may result from activities like lifting, raking, and shoveling. Usually, the pain gets better with rest and sometimes NSAIDs)
If you have any concerns about breast pain or other breast symptoms, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment.
In summary, breast pain is a common symptom experienced by many women and can be caused by a variety of factors such as hormonal changes, breastfeeding, fibrocystic breast changes, fatty acid imbalances, noncyclical breast pain, extramammary breast pain, infection, and injury. It's important to remember that breast pain alone is not usually a sign of breast cancer. However, if you have any concerns or notice any changes in your breasts, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment.
- "Breast Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments." WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/breast-pain.
- "Breast Pain." Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/breast-pain/basics/definition/sym-20050871.
- "Breast Pain and Breast Cancer." Breastcancer.org, https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/pain.
The Problem with Mammograms
A few critics do not think mammography is effective in finding tumors, not to mention the mammogram radiation risks. In a Swedish study, 70% of women had false positive tumors. This was not a small sampling. The study was performed taking into account over 60,000 women. The problem with false positive is not only they cause financial strain and emotional stress, but they also result in way too many unnecessary biopsies. Statistics show that 70-80% of mammograms that show positive are not cancer.
The other problem with Mammograms is they also miss a high number of tumors, or what is referred to as “false negatives”. In his book, “The Politics of Cancer,” Samuel S. Epstein, says that in females 40 to 49 years old, one out of four cancer cases doesn’t show up on a mammogram.
The NCI (National Cancer Institute) figures that among women between the ages of 40 and 49, the false negative is about 4%, which is even greater. National Institutes of Health spokespeople claim that about 10% of malignant tumors are not detected in mammograms of women over 50 years of age. Other studies have concluded that breast tissue in younger women is denser and the detection of tumors is much more difficult. This is the reason that false negatives are two times as likely to occur with premenopausal mammograms.
Say Mammograms Don’t Really Work.
Now you have another reason to bypass subsequent mammograms, based on a new study from Norway. As outlined by the study by Doctor Mette Kalager, with his staff at Oslo School Medical Center, having a mammogram seems to reduce the potential risk of death from breast cancers by a measly 2% at best – a number many think is statistically irrelevant.
For this study, females between ages 50 through 69 that were asked to get mammogram tests – and were also provided quality treatment from a group of experts, experienced a breast cancer death reduction of about 10%. Yet an identical number of females older than seventy, that were given the exact treatment, but weren’t motivated to get a mammogram found an 8% reduction, indicating mammograms are practically pointless.
In addition, the study showed for every 2,500 females age 50 and above that get mammograms, just one can prevent dying from cancer of the breast as a result of the test. Approximately 1,000 nevertheless, will likely be told there could be a concern, leading to 500 getting biopsies. At the end, about 15 women will be getting treatment unnecessarily for a condition they don’t have.
Research posted in Internal Medicine Archives, a publication of the AMA, showed that mammograms in effect increase the risks of women acquiring breast cancer. In 4 different Norwegian counties, researchers saw the rates of breast cancer increase after mammograms were introduced, along with similar increases also showing across Europe.
Other research has shown that nearly all cancerous tumors discovered through mammography are rarely malignant, which results in costly and needless interventions.
THERMOGRAPHY FOR EARLY INDICATION OF BREAST CANCER
By Liz McGehee
Breast cancer screening is crucial for early detection and treatment of breast cancer. While mammograms and ultrasounds are the most commonly used screening methods, thermography is a promising screening tool that is gaining more attention in recent years. Thermography is a non-invasive, radiation-free screening procedure that uses a special infrared camera to measure and record the temperature of the skin that covers the breasts. It works by detecting the heat patterns emitted by the body, which can indicate increased blood flow to a tumor and highlight potential problem areas.
Thermography is a promising tool in breast cancer screening because it has several advantages over other screening methods. Unlike mammograms, which use radiation to produce images, thermography is radiation-free and does not pose any health risks. Additionally, thermography is non-invasive and painless, making it a more comfortable option for women. It can also detect breast cancer earlier than other methods, as it can detect the heat patterns associated with cancer cells even before they form a lump.
Mammograms have been the standard for breast cancer detection since 1976, which begs the question: Is it still the greatest tool we have at our disposal?
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), “More than 50% of women screened annually for 10 years in the United States will experience a false-positive result, and many of these women will have a biopsy. Overall, screening mammograms miss about 20% of breast cancers that are present at the time of screening.” There is also the matter of radiation exposure, the unbearable waiting time for results and common discomfort that comes with the procedure.
Using digital infrared imaging, breast thermography measures and maps heat on the breast’s surface, pinpointing areas with higher temperatures and increased blood flow that indicates early stage breast disease. The procedure is non-invasive, non-compressive and does not use radiation. Thermographic imaging, which firefighters use to enter burning buildings, also help physicians detect arthritis, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”
“Numerous studies have been published in the United States, England and France demonstrating that patients in the false positive thermographic group, those patients with positive thermograms and negative mammograms who were told the thermography was wrong, were determined by long term follow-up to have developed breast cancer in exactly the location thermography had demonstrated its positive finding 5-10 years earlier,” said Associate Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University and Surgical Oncologist, Dr. David Gorski back in 2010.
Over a 12-year period, 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies showed this screening method to be 90% accurate. However, it should be noted that the test has only been approved by the FDA for use in conjunction with mammography, rather than as a primary means of detection. This isn’t too surprising considering it took 16 years after the invention of the mammogram for it to become the standard method of breast cancer detection.
"Over a 12-year period, 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies showed this screening method to be 90% accurate."
Science is always slow to accept change, but thermography shows much of promise. The only downside is that breast thermography isn’t covered by Medicare, but some health insurers will cover the costs, depending on your coverage. Out of pocket, a scan including imaging, a written report and digital copy of the images usually costs less than $200.
Early detection is the best way to prevent and treat breast cancer so make sure you get screened annually.
Mammogram Radiation Risks.
Many mammogram critics talk about the dangers of radiation on your health. This mammography radiation debate reached it’s peak in 1976. In the past, mammography technology applied 5 to 10 doses of radiation for every screening, opposed to the 1 dose used today. Dr. Frank Rauscher (NCI manager) says that in women around ages of 35 to 50, every radiation dose increases the chances of developing breast cancer.
Another doctor, Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., claims that the cancer risk in the breast probably increases at the rate of at least 2% percent per year when getting mammograms which use radiation. He expects that risk to increase by 20 percent in the next 10 years.
During the 60’s and 70’s, women were not told it was dangerous to be exposed to mammogram radiation – even those who had 10 tests every year. In the midst of this controversy over radiation, Kodak, the large film manufacturer used in mammograms, published a whole page ad in a scientific publication with the subject “About breast cancer and X-rays: A message of hope from the business about a serious subject.”
Even today with the improvements in the technology and the reduced amount of radiation, critics and scientists continue to claim that a mammogram is a big health risk. Dr. JW. Gofman, who is an expert on the health issues of ionizing radiation, says that around 75 cases of breast cancer may be prevented by reducing the radiation exposure. This includes mammography, x-rays, and other medical and dental tests.
Since mammograms first were introduced, a version of breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has increased by as much as 328%. Mammography is the presumed culprit for this 200% increase. Another disturbing suspicion is the that mammograms are responsible for the progression of previous existing cancer cells due to the squeezing put on women’s breast during the screening. In the opinion of some doctors and health care professionals, this squeezing pressure could cause cancerous cells which are already present to spread further in the breast tissue.
There is a gene called Oncogene AC that was discovered in cancer research. This gene is extremely sensitive to the smallest dose of radiation. In the US a certain portion of women carry this gene, which dramatically increases their risk factor for getting cancer from mammograms. Mammograms are believed to be the cause of death for 10,000 AC carriers.
The radiation risks for younger females is higher. The NCI has shown proof that in women less than 35 years of age, a mammogram could develop 75 breast cancer conditions for every 15 it diagnosed. A study in Canada revealed a 52% increase in breast cancer deaths in young women who’ve had mammogram screening every year. Another disturbing claim by Dr. Samuel Epstein is that the fetus of pregnant women may be damaged when exposed to radiation. Dr. Epstein suggest women avoid mammograms when carrying a baby due to leukemia and birth defects risks to the unborn child. Other studies show that a child who is exposed to radiation has an elevated chance of acquiring breast cancer when they become adults.
Mammogram Misreadings >>
Breast Thermography in New York City >>
New York Breast Cancer Screening >>
Helping Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer screening should never be misunderstood as a way of eliminating cancer. Protecting against breast cancers is by far more critical than detecting it when it’s already been formed. For this reason here are some important tips on things you can do to reduce the chances or prevent it.
In the biggest study of breast cancer and lifestyle, the American Institute of Cancer Research found that roughly 40 % of U.S. cancer of the breast cases, might be avoided if women made smarter lifestyle choices. In my opinion these estimations are way lower, and it’s quite likely that 75 % to 90 % of cases of breast cancer might be prevented by using the following advice…
**Avoid sugar at all cost **– especially fructose. Any type of sugar is harmful to your health and has shown to boost cancer. Fructose, is clearly the most dangerous and should always be avoided.
Optimize for Vitamin D – Vitamin D affects just about every single cell in the body – and is a strong and natural fighter against cancer. Vitamin D actually enters the cancerous cells and causes cell death (called apoptosis). For those who have cancer, Vitamin D levels are usually between 70 ng/ml and 100 ng/ml. This also works in conjunction with every other cancer treatment I know of without any negative side effects.
Get lots of Vitamin A – Studies have shown Vitamin A is also responsible in helping the prevent breast cancer. The best path is to get it from foods that are rich in Vitamin A instead of getting it from supplements. Organic egg yolks, raw whole milk and butter, as well as chicken liver or beef.
But watch out for adding to much Vitamin A because some evidence indicates that it dramatically reduces the effects of vitamin D… Since the right levels of vitamin D are important to maintain your health, as well as preventing cancer, it’s crucial to achieve the right ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D. It’s best to get all of the vitamin D and A your system needs so your body will regulate both naturally. This is achieved most effectively when you eat colorful veggies (vitamin A) and exposure to sunshine every single day in safe dosages (vitamin D).
Avoid over cooking (burning) your meat – Flame broiled beef or charcoal meat has been associated with elevated risk of cancer of the breast. Acrylamide is a carcinogen produced when starchy meals are baked, fried or roasted, which has also been discovered to increase the chances of breast cancer.You should avoid eating unfermented soy foods. Unfermented soy has elevated levels of plant estrogens, (phytoestrogens,) also called isoflavones – and in a few studies soy seems to operate in conjunction with human estrogen to increase proliferation of breast cells, which in turn increases the odd of mutations and cancer cells.
Enhance your blood insulin receptor sensitivity – The most effect method to do that is as simple as staying away from grains and sugar – and exercising at peak fitness.
Keep a healthy weight – This happens naturally if you exercise and eat the right foods based on your own nutritional type. When you get on the right diet and exercise routine, you’ll start losing excess body fat which is important since body fat generates estrogen.
Drink vegetable juice (green) on a daily basis – 1 quart.
Ingest a good amount of top quality omega-3 fatty acids or oil – (animal based) like krill oil. A known factor in cancer is a deficiency of Omega-3.
Curcumin has shown to be an effective adjunct for treating breast cancer. Curcumin, which is an active component in turmeric, is very effective in avoiding cancer of the breast metastasis. Curcumin is usually not well absorbed.
**Avoid consuming alcohol **– or keep alcohol drinking to a minimum of one drink a day.
Breastfeed for approximately 6 months – Studies have shown breastfeeding can help diminish risk of cancer of the breast.
**Avoid using under-wire braziers **– There’s a lot of information that metal under-wire brazier can increase the risk of breast cancer.
EMF - Electromagnetic fields should be avoided whenever possible – Items such as electric blankets may heighten cancer risks. Avoid keeping your cell phone tucked inside bra. It should never reside near your body for more than a few minutes.
**Synthetic hormone replacement therapy is to be avoided **– Cancer of the breast is estrogen related and based on research from the Journal from the National Cancer Institute, rates for cancer of the breast in women dropped together with the decrease of HRT. (You will find similar risks from oral contraceptives in younger women, since pills for birth control are also composed of synthetic hormones, which have been associated with breast and cervical cancer.)
Menopause - If you’re going through pronounced menopause symptoms, you can give bioidentical hormone replacement therapy a consideration. This approach utilizes hormones who’s molecules are identical to those the body produces. This alternative is much safer.
Stay away from BPA phthalates – They are found in baby lotion, powder and cosmetics, as well as other xenoestrogens. They are estrogen-like components which have been associated with elevated risk of cancer of the breast. Avoid plastic bottles, heating meals packed in plastic microwave. Avoid eating commercially raised meat products; Farmers inject animals to increase their weight. Avoid birth control pills, synthetic estrogen hormones and herbicides.
**Make certain you are not deficient in iodine **– There is indisputable evidence that iodine deficiency is responsible in increases in breast cancer. Dr. David Brownstein, who’s authored a book on Iodine, is a vocal proponent and crusader for iodine in the prevention of breast cancer. In fact, Dr. Brownstein claims that iodine has powerful anti-cancer qualities and is known to kill thyroid and breast cancer cells.
To learn more, read Dr. Brownstein’s book on iodine. Iodine research has become very popular after his book was published and there is good reason – and data to believe that Dr. Brownstein is dead-on. The only opinion we don’t share is that I think Dr. Brownstein’s dosage suggestions are too high.