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What is Breast Pain?

By Matthew Wakefield, MD

Breast pain, or mastalgia, is very common.  It is usually cyclic mastalgia.  This is pain and tenderness in both breasts before your menstrual cycle.  Breast tissue can also feel swollen or lumpy during that time.  Most commonly breast pain occurs in the upper outer portion of your breast towards your underarm.  Cyclical breast pain usually resolves after your menstrual cycle. 

Cyclical mastalgia is most common in 30s and 40s.  It can occur earlier and can occur after menopause.  This is especially true if taking hormone replacement therapy when postmenopausal.  This type of breast pain is almost never associated with breast cancer.

 

When should you see a doctor?

Breast pain that needs to be seen by your physician is pain that is not cyclical.  This pain does not occur regularly with menstrual cycle.  Pain that occurs in a specific spot in the breast also needs to be seen by your doctor.  You will need a breast exam and possibly further evaluation. 

 

What is the treatment for breast pain?

Dietary changes:

1.      Sometimes eliminating caffeine from your diet may help breast tenderness.  This may take up to six months to have relief.  Caffeine is in many things we eat and drink so must pay attention.

2.      Eliminating chocolate may have same effect as caffeine.

3.      Eating a low-fat diet can decrease estrogen levels and reduce breast pain as well as help general health.  Limiting meat and dairy products and eating more fish can be helpful.

4.      It is helpful to keep a food log to associate certain foods with breast pain also.

Lifestyle changes:

1.       Exercise can decrease estrogen levels, help with general fitness and weight and improve breast pain and tenderness.

2.      Stop smoking

3.      Make sure you have well-fitting, supportive bra

4.      Warm compresses when tenderness and pain occur

Nutritional supplements:

1.      Evening primrose oil may help reduce breast pain.  Recommend taking 3 grams per day for at least six months to see benefits. 

2.      Dietary flaxseed may reduce breast pain in some studies. (1 muffin with 25 mg)

3.      Vitamin E (200-600IU/day) and Vitamin B6 may be helpful also.  It is reasonable to try these for several months to see if they help. 

Medications:

1.       Nonsteroidal over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen are also helpful.  Sometimes a topical gel like diclofenac might be helpful also.

2.      Tamoxifen is an anti-hormonal medication used for breast cancer treatment and prevention.  For severe cases it can be used for breast tenderness but due to side effects and risks it is used sparingly.

3.      Other medications like danazol and bromocriptine have been used in past but due to significant side effects they are really not used anymore.

Thanks to Hidden Scar™ Surgery, Breast Cancer’s Visible Reminders are Minimized for Many Women in Greensboro, NC

Thanks to Hidden Scar™ Surgery, Breast Cancer’s Visible Reminders are Minimized for Many Women in Greensboro, NC

If you don’t already know someone that’s been diagnosed with breast cancer, the chances are good that you will. In 2018 alone, 330,000 American women will encounter some form of breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, research shows that around 12.4% of women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.

Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery helps diminish visible reminders of breast cancer for many women.

Central Carolina Surgery of Greensboro, North Carolina staffs the most certified Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer surgeons in the state and perhaps the entire country.

“Nine of our surgeons have undergone Hidden Scar™ Certification. There are so many surgical options for breast cancer patients today. For many women nipple-sparing mastectomy and lumpectomy, as well as other breast-conserving procedures make the visible signs of breast cancer minimal,” says Dr. Matt Wakefield, a surgeon with Central Carolina Surgery.

 

Find it. Treat it. Beat it. Thrive!

 

Awareness has made breast cancer treatment and survival very successful. According to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database from 2007 – 2013, the 5-year relative survival rate for women with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer is close to 100%. Stage II patients experience 93%. Even those diagnosed at stage III are tracked with a 72% 5-year relative survival rate.

 

“Breast cancer advances have made it possible for us to offer a multitude of surgical options, including options that prioritize cosmetic outcomes. The research has found that 53% of lumpectomy patients and 33% of mastectomy patients don’t feel completely informed about their surgical options,” says Dr. Faera L. Byerly, MD, FACS.

 

For many women, scars matter.

Studies show that breast surgery scars significantly impact a woman’s psychological and emotional recovery and quality of life after surgery because scars can have a tremendous impact on a woman’s self-confidence, intimacy, and body image.

Central Carolina Surgery is on a mission to offer breast cancer patients in the greater Greensboro area every proven surgical option and to make them fully aware of those options as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery is an advanced approach to removing breast cancer.

Today, surgeons in Greensboro, North Carolina can surgically remove breast cancer with a mastectomy procedure (remove all of your breast tissue) or a lumpectomy procedure (remove only part of your breast tissue) with little to no visible reminder of the surgery or your cancer.

“What we’ve learned to do is place that incision in a location that is hard to see. So, when it heals, you can’t see the scar. Ladies don’t have to experience a visible reminder of the surgery or cancer,” says Dr. Wakefield.

What are Hidden Scar™ Procedures and Who’s Eligible?

Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery qualification is based on the size and location of the tumor as well as breast shape and breast size.

The Hidden Scar™ approach can be performed for a mastectomy or a lumpectomy procedure. Fortunately, these techniques do not have a higher risk of cancer recurrence than any other type of technique.

A Nipple Sparing Mastectomy can be performed as a Hidden Scar™ Procedure, which means that the incision is made in a place that is hard to see such as the natural crease beneath the breast known as the “inframammary fold” or in some cases the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue but does not remove the nipple.

Call us for a consultation at (336) 387-8100 to learn more or see our website under breast surgery. Click here to read more and see a short video on how it all works.

Do you know someone about to have breast cancer surgery? Check out the many benefits of Radioactive Seed Localization by watching the video below. Greensboro, North Carolina is only one of two locations throughout the state certified in this life-changing procedure.

Breast Cancer Surgery

 

Why should I have a Colonoscopy?

Colorectal cancer (colon or rectal cancer) is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US today.  Do know someone who has been affected by colorectal cancer?  Most colorectal cancer is completely random in whom it affects with only a small percentage inherited (passed down from related family members).    The good news is that it’s mostly preventable with the right screening tests.  People between the ages of 50-75 are at the highest risk for getting this disease. Continue reading “Why should I have a Colonoscopy?”

Central Carolina Surgery Delivers Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care

Experience Matters

Most women have heard the statistic that for every 8 women in the U.S., 1 will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.  At Central Carolina Surgery, we understand that the being diagnosed with breast cancer can bring tremendous stress, anxiety and confusion. We believe that providing the best treatment possible includes helping patients and their families navigate through the multitude of decisions during a very difficult time.  We evaluate and treat over 600 breast cancer cases per year. Continue reading “Central Carolina Surgery Delivers Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care”