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Is an itchy, painful lump a sign of breast cancer?

Lumps and changes to your breast can be worrying but most breast lumps are not cancer.

Symptoms like itchiness and pain is not generally caused by cancer. A lump that feels hot or is red, it may be a breast abscess (a lump caused by infection).

Other possible causes

A rare type of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer can cause symptoms such as:

  • redness
  • inflammation
  • itching
  • pain

A condition called Paget's disease of the nipple, which is associated with breast cancer, can cause itchiness.

Diagnosing a lump in the breast

It is impossible for any doctor to make a definite diagnosis from looking at, or feeling a lump. So, it is best to go back to your doctor and insist on a referral to a specialist. You could take a relative or friend with you to support you if you like.

The specialist can use tests such as mammogram and ultrasound to examine your breasts. They could also do a needle biopsy. This means putting a needle into the lump and taking out some cells for examination under the microscope.

Or they might do a punch biopsy, where they remove a small circle of skin tissue to examine.

These tests can show whether or not the lump is a cancer. The earlier cancer is diagnosed the better the chance of successful treatment.

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.