BREAST PAIN can be cancer. A bee sting or stinging feeling in the breast can be cancer. It may not be. But it can be. Every day on my blog, many women read this article searching if breast pain or a bee sting-like feel in the breast can be cancer. It can. PLEASE read my story.
I try to never live in the land of regret. But sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Memories of the severe breast pain I had over a year before my diagnosis of Stage 3 Breast Cancer haunt me. The pain would sometimes prevent me from falling asleep. Many nights I got up and googled, “Does Breast Cancer hurt?” or “Is Breast Pain Symptom of Cancer?” Every answer I saw from supposedly reputable sources like breast cancer centers and hospitals said pain is not a symptom of breast cancer. The information I found said it is from perimenopause, menopause, caffeine, cystic breasts, and on and on. My pain would often feel like a bee sting or red hot poker in the middle of my breast.
I did not listen to my intuition and my body. Life got busy, the pain somewhat subsided, I believed what I read, and I let the mammogram reminder get lost in my pile of paperwork. Twelve months later, I felt the lump in the same area where I had the breast pain. The minute I felt it I knew it was breast cancer as tears and terror hit me simultaneously. And so it began. Had it been caught a year earlier, I may have been able to save my breast. I am responsible for that critical error.
I am trying to get the word out – YES, BREAST PAIN CAN BE CANCER! A recent thread on the discussion boards of a huge website of women with breast cancer asked women if they had breast pain before diagnosis: http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/83/topic/784732?page=1 . Over 50 percent said they had and most said they were angry that they had always been told breast pain is not cancer. Many women described the pain like one or more bee stings that would hit them in the breast in the precise spot where later the tumor was found.
If you were led to this Blog post because you have breast pain, RUN don’t walk to a mammogram. That being said, if the mammogram doesn’t show anything and the breast pain or other symptoms persist, insist upon an Ultrasound and MRI of the breast. I know it is absolutely terrifying to even read this. Too many women I’ve met or spoken with had current mammograms and their advanced cancers did not show up. If you do not have confidence in where you have gone for treatment or consultation, drive to the nearest major breast cancer center. Over 80% of women who have symptoms do NOT have breast cancer. But if you are one of the 20%, time is of the essence.
Some other symptoms many other women have had include dimpling breast skin, inverted nipples, strange-smelling body odor, itchy breast(s), an unusual rash, and unexplained fatigue.
Listen to your instincts, listen to what your body is saying to you, and keep at it. I wish I had.
Followup September, 2014: Every day, numerous women land on this blog post by Google searching bee sting in breast, stinging pain in breast, breast pain, etc. Many have written to thank me. A few have been diagnosed with cancer. Most have not. Some had other medical issues. But they have all been thankful they did not ignore the pain.