Breast Pain Can Be Cancer

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 find this blog post by Google searching “if breast pain can be cancer” 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 February, 2015:   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. PLEASE seek medical attention!

May, 2015 – My only sibling, my sister, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April, 2015.  About a month before diagnosis, she started to have severe pain – on and off – in her breast that contained the cancer.

Advertisements

48 thoughts on “Breast Pain Can Be Cancer

  1. Good for you to get that out there! I am not a breast cancer patient, but I love & loved a few. I know what you’re saying is correct and yet, MY OWN FEARS & doubts prevent me from being more assertive & persistent with my own doctor. I’ve had that searing pain, that doesn’t last terribly long, isn’t consistent as it comes & goes. My mammo came up negative, too. But I will go back and show him this.
    So, Denise, if you’ve ever wondered “WHY ME?” — well NOW you know!
    Good for you, Thank you and God Bless you!

    • Maggie, thank you so much for taking the time to write! Thanks for your encouraging
      words as well.

      That searing pain some women describe like a bee sting is something to be concerned about,
      however, obviously doesn’t mean it is cancer. But I am so glad you are going to be more
      persistent because you have that inner discomfort going on that “something just isn’t right”.

      Good for you! It takes courage to be persistent. If nothing else, you will know you
      have done all you could for your body! My best, Denise

      • Hi Sandy – I’ve heard from many women who have had that bee stinging feeling, but it was nothing.
        But since you have been down some very tough roads in the past, keep an eye on it or get checked!
        Wouldn’t hurt!!
        Sending all the best, Denise

  2. I can’t imagine what a wonderful service to woman your blogs have been and how many woman around the world they have reached. You have been truly blessed with your gift of writing. I hope that you will continue to write and hopefully it will be something fun that you can write about as a cancer survivor. So proud of you. Love, Auntie M

    ________________________________

  3. Thank you Denise for getting this out there! I too began feeling a burning sensation in my breast last October, researched online and kept reading that Breast Cancer usually does not cause pain. I too ignored this pain for many months. In January when the pain was progressing, I finally got myself a mammogram and sadly, yes, it was the dreaded cancer. Luckily the tumor was under a cm. Yet I imagine what could of happened if I kept ignoring it. So yes ladies, if you feel pain in your breast, get to your doc or a mamogram center stat, hopefully it will be nothing, but catching IT the earlier is the better! Listen to your body it is telling you something!!! P.S. Denise, I have been reading your blog regularly since Feb, and find it both informative and inspirational and have referred it to others who have joined our “sisterhood.” Thank you.

    • Rebeka, thank you so very much for writing to me and to other women reading
      this Blog. I am so grateful you paid attention to your body. Thanks for
      your words to other women that Pain can be Breast Cancer! I appreciate your
      encouraging words about my Blog as well. Thank you! Denise

  4. Thank you for getting this out to other people might have otherwise overlooked breast pain as possible cancer. I DID have pain in my right breast and under my arm (a total of four tumors some of which were almost 5cm and five other lymph nodes involved) Too many people think that it doesn’t hurt but it can. Mine hurt like hell.
    cin-

    • Cindy, thanks for letting all of us know about your pain before diagnosis. I am sorry you had to go through it as well. Thanks for taking the time to write here to help others. Your blog is great! Denise

  5. I had no pain,cancer was discovered because I had an itch on breast,thought something bit me.Doc ordered mammogram,ultrasound,followed by MRI,which,by the way,caused severe tinnitus because earplugs weren’t on tight enough.All treatments are over;I now have pain in breast and armpit,27 lymph nodes removed as well as lumpectomy.15 had cancer cells.I have many lasting side effects from chemo and radiation.I went through all that bravely,trying to stay up-beat.I now feel sad,cry easily,worry it will come back somewhere else.It’s like it finally hit me,like a post traumatic event. My surgury was 4/6/2011.Is this normal?Will it go away? I have not told doc as I won’t take antidepressants.I trust God,but I,m still sad.

    • Hi Marilyn – I wrote you a private email. The majority of breast cancer patients
      after treatment can get Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Everything is different than it
      was. Plus, during treatment you are in survival mode. It is so challenging.
      I will explore this more in my Blog in the future. Thoughts and prayers to you, Denise

  6. “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.” That is so true in my case as well. I was having a hard time describing what I felt to my doctors but that is spot on. I also had a skin dimpling and felt something hard underneath it (something that didn’t feel like a lump though). I’m only 30 so my doctors took everything quite seriously (thank god) and was diagnosed with breast cancer that same day.

  7. I am getting a biopsy tomorrow I have a small lump in right breast it from time to time shoots off a burning type sensation hopefully all goes well it is in right breast below nipple have already had ultrasound and mammogram and they feel they should biopsy it

    • Debbie, will be thinking of you and saying prayers for you. Please let me know
      your results. Although it is so scarey, it is good they are doing the biopsy.
      So many woman have similar symptoms and never get biopsies!

      • I sure will. It is a very scary thing so much is going through my head because you don’t know thank you denise much appreciated

      • Thoughts and prayers to you Debbie, It indeed a scary thing. Stay positive ( which I know is a hard thing to do), hope for the best and plan for the worst is my motto.

  8. I saw my dr in August of this year I had a hysterectomy in 2006 and have been on hormone Premarin since then I am now 37 years old for what ever reason just out of the blue she decided to send me for a mammo. She didn’t check me or anything just sent me up there for one. And I have a history of fibrocystic breast I was diagnosed last year by a different doctor. Anyway I went for my scan and got a letter in the mail it showed need for further testing. I went back they kept me there for two hours doing mammo pics and then an ultrasound they said my breast were very dense I had 3 spots that showed up on my left breast ultrasound tch said if it was a cyst it would show fluid on screen only one of the areas she measured did the other two she got quiet on and she said she wanted radiologist to see it so he came in she put it back on my breast and told him that area caused her concern and then he said well with your age and you have fibrocystic breast it’s just benign cyst I wanna keep an eye on it and have u come back in a year. It’s taken me till this week to get my doctor to refer me to a breast dr for a second opinion. I also have a sharp hot little bee like sting in the side of my breast have had that going on for about a year now and now in the last couple of months my breast has become very itchy and skin flakes off I have two small sores in two of the areas where the so called cysts were found. And my breast has grown in size so much so that if I am in a t- shirt you can see the difference in my breast size I now look lopsided. I can actually pick one of the knots up between my fingers it’s hard. I have not had a biopsy. I am hoping the breast doctor will do one instead of just going with the radiologist report.

    • I applaud you for insisting you have a biopsy. YOU DESERVE answers!
      Your persistence should not be necessary. Unfortunately, it is and many
      women face this trying to find out what exactly is wrong.
      I wrote you a personal email – Denise

  9. My story starts a little differently..
    I was a woman who had taken control of her health. I worked out heavy, Insanity and P90x 6-7 days a week, plus working out on our total gym 3 days a week. I just didn’t feel right if I didn’t get in a work out.
    About 12 weeks ago I began to notice I tired more easily during my workouts, then I got to the point 4 weeks later that I just could not do it, not even 10 mins of yoga. It would knock me down for the day. I figured I was just over doing it so I backed off. Somewhere in the middle of it I noticed a lump in my right breast and my breast became tender. Well I have a history of clogged milk ducts, and whatnot so I ignored it for a few weeks to see if would just resolve on it’s own.
    It wasn’t until the pain began that I realized something was just not right. I had no other symptoms, no redness, swelling, dimpling, skin changes, nipple changes, no family history nothing. I still thought the fatigue was due to overdoing it. The pain was horrible. It was like I was being stabbed all the way through my breast, starting at the nipple and shooting upwards to the top of the breast. I saw somewhere that it could be described as lightening shooting through your breast, and that is pretty close to the way I would describe it. It would happen every 30 seconds or so and would continue for five to 10 min then stop for a bit and start up again. It was the type of pain that takes your breath away and all you can say is OWWWWW…
    I went to see a Doctor ( Nov 12) , being new in Texas I didn’t have an OBGYN, so I chose one and off I went. She sent me for a STAT Mammogram, and ultrasound ( Same day as first appointment) because the lump was not round and she could feel offshoots, I was then sent off to see a breast specialist because my results came back highly suspicious of cancer. I had not one but three masses. One measured just under 3cm, one was just over 1.5 cm, and the third was just under .5 cm, plus I had a suspicious cyst in the left. She did a Core Biopsy ( that was a horrible experience, the numbing didn’t have any effect on me and after two syringes of stuff I still felt the entire biopsy, they took two samples). On Nov 19th I got the Diagnosis Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
    After all the testing I began to feel a new pain. It was waves of just achy pain. It was start, and build. It would continue to build until it would send a wave of pain over my entire breast. Even still then I was told it was probably because of all the testing.
    So many people told me “oh it hurts so it can’t be Cancer, that’s good because Cancer does not hurt”. Well ladies, let me tell you Cancer can hurt. For me I am sure it was the duct bursting ( for lack of better words) that I was feeling. Seeing as how my Cancer had already ruptured the duct it had formed in.
    Please please, If things just don’t seem right to you, listen to your body. Let your intuition guide you. I did, and we caught it early. I am Stage 2, but it does not seem to have spread any farther than my right breast.

  10. Hello Denise,

    You are brave! I wish you full recovery and pray for your strength to stay intact, as I do for all the women in the case of breast cancer and otherwise.

    I landed here with a very similar pain that is persisting for a few months now…yesterday by far was the worst ever ‘attack’ of pure agony if you will, i got it 3 times, it 2 repetitions and it seemed to now spread from its usual spot, between my under arm and left breast to this searing pain I’ve never felt before.

    what scares me now is I’m only 24…and the recent escalation seems valid enough to go see the doctor, truth be told, I’m scared shitless.

    I hope things turn out otherwise….

    Thank you once again for your post Denise.

    Suraiya

    • Hi Suraiya – of course you are terrified! Chances are it is absolutely something else,
      but it is important to get it checked out. It can be many other things – but get it checked!
      Wishing you well with prayers and good wishes – Denise

  11. I have had a bee sting feeling and itch for a year. My dr said its my fibromyalgia. Well.. last week it started draining. And i cant see the dr till tomorrow. My lymph nodes in armpit are swollen. And severe pain in a lump i found in my breast. I have seen the dr for extreme fatigue for months. The labs always show inflammation and high white cells. Im scared. Im 37. Ive watched my aunts and cousins battle cancer. On both sides of my family. No one says breast cancer hurts. Ever. Just cysts. I cant believe this is still told by drs. Another thing.. when i apply ice to my breast to help pain, i cant feel the coldness. Strange

    • Holly, of course you are scared. You have an 80% chance it is not cancer.
      But you are doing the right thing and getting it checked. If they try to
      brush you off again INSIST INSIST INSIST upon an ultrasound and if that
      shows something, insist upon a biopsy. Often young women get blown off
      with their complaints.
      Certainly, it could be something else. And I hope and pray it is for you.
      But you do not want any more time to be wasted. You need a definite answer!
      Please keep me posted, Holly! Denise

  12. Denise, I go in Monday for another mammogram and ultrasound. Yet, you describe EXACTLY what I am feeling in both of me breasts. It is like they are on fire – like someone is sticking hot pokers in them. I feel stupid for complaining because there are no lumps or anything. So your post make me feel less crazy. I hope that I am just crazy. But, thanks all the same. Good luck in all your, Carmen

    • Carmen, please never feel stupid about this. Every day I get numerous women
      coming to this article because they search for “red hot pokers” and “bee sting”
      feeling in breasts. I spoke to another woman this week who did have breast cancer.
      And I’ve talked with many who don’t. But for me it was a symptom, and I did not
      listen….I am so glad you are! Please let me know how you make out! My best!

  13. I came here because I have a searing like sting in my breast in just one spot. All of my doctors in the past told me breast cancer wouldn’t hurt but apparently that is not correct! This article is very informative. Thank you for sharing! I am 28 and hope I don’t get too much push back in asking for a mammogram. My paternal grandmother died from this so it’s not something I am taking lightly. Again thank you!

    • Jessica – I am SO GLAD you are going to push to have a mammogram
      because it is YOUR LIFE! I am proud of you! Most likely, it is not
      cancer, but it is SO IMPORTANT that you have it checked. If you are told
      that you have dense breast tissue as many young women do, make sure you get a
      3D Mammogram or Tomosynthesis mammogram. If at ANY TIME, you want to contact me,
      please email me at hellocourage@live.com Denise

  14. Bama November 4, 2014

    I accidentally found your site today. The reason I stopped and read it was the logo “Hello Courage”. It hit me hard. Those words I could grab onto and they fit me and sounded so right. I am one year and a couple months out from stage II breast cancer.
    Something that I wanted to mention in regard to recurrence worries was that, at one year, I started to have other questions and worries and I re-read all my pathology and genotype reports and I finally found the words to ask why they all said it was cut and dried and we caught it early, and yet when the oncotype score came back at 32 suddenly I had a high chance for recurrence and my cancer was “aggressive”. I couldn’t rest comfortably with this. Anyway, I just kept asking all three: surgeon, oncologist, and radiation oncologist questions until I finally got some answers and made peace with the reality. It’s ok to not find the words you need until much later, even after all the treatment and office visits are over for a year. So now, yes I still worry about recurrence, but I realized I have been feeling depressed and physically not very well with hot flashes and lack of energy. This mental state just breeds dread and worry. Finally, I was prescribed something for ADHD to help me focus and concentrate. Within a few days I have felt more like myself than I have in 2 years!

    I’m so happy to have found your website. I look forward to returning to your site and reading more from you. I also ordered some sleepwear which I am hopeful will help with those wicked hot flashes, since they are going to be part of my life it seems for the next 5-10 years. I’m sorry this is so long, but you are the first person I’ve talked to in this way about my experience with breast cancer. I just haven’t been able to put all this on my family members, especially my daughter. So, thank you so much. I am so pleased to meet you and I hope to talk to you again.

    • Bama – thanks or sharing your struggles! It is just so darn hard. I’ve found women
      have one of the toughest times 12 months to 18 months after treatment ends. Something
      about that time that we are totally freaked out about recurrence. Well, that stays with us,
      but it seems as time goes on, we develop better coping mechanisms.
      Everything you describe sounds rather normal in post-breast cancer world. I am so glad
      you got prescribed something for ADHD. That must help a lot. I definitely got that after
      chemo.
      So glad you found my website — would love to chat more! My best, Denise

  15. I’m so lucky to have stumbled across this! I was just wondering if there is any other way I could get in contact with you to chat?
    All the best!
    Siobhan

  16. Hi Denise

    I have read your blog and I feel you definatley have some truth there . My situation is that I had breast pain last year in 2013 but no pain at all in 2014 so in 2013 I went to my doctors once a lady doc examied me she said it was a few cysts so she sent me to the hospital breast clinic the doc examined me here he also said it was cysts and told me to have starflower capsules 1000mg (one a day) something to do with my oil fat level in my body sometimes lack of this causes pain in the tissue of the breast as its sensitive . The doc said try it for 3 Mths and if it doesn’t get better to go back . I have noticed the pain starts on both the sides of my breasts and then works it way into the centre of the nipple . The doc said its due to my me natural cycle when my eggs release it hurts on the sides of my breast and when it’s just petite my period it hurts in the middle of my breast . And the pain goes away straight away as soon as I’m my period . And the pain restarts again about a week ish before my next period and so on .
    So for the past 3 wks now I have had my starflower capsules I’ve done my 3 Mths and thought I’d try and see if I’ve got any better or do i still need to reply on it . And I also went on holiday for a week and I was busy to to buy he capsules from boots so I thought ok forget it see how I get on I’ll buy them on my return from hols .
    Omg all day today I’ve had this sting like pain that last for a few seconds right next to my nipple on the right of it and then the sting goes away . And comes back again every few seconds all holiday I don’t have this pain it only started as soon as I had coffee in the morning ( I also read on the Internet that caffeine causes breast pain aswell ….. That’s another question I’d like to ask yourself if that is true at all?) ok back to this morning after I had the coffee the pain started (stining) all day and even now but I have to say I have noticed at first it was very frequent and regulr and as for into the evening and let night now it has become far and less often . IM GOING CARZY do I have it or DONT I ….. Am I going to die …. Or NOT ?! 😦
    Oh one other thing I nearly forgot when I went to the doc in the hospital breast clinic he said he can’t let me have a scan or mammogram ( I don’t know which) because my breast is a lot DENSE . as I was at the time 35 yrs old and now I’m 36 .
    I have reduced in caffeine in take ( as I do love to have one at least in he morning ) and noticed the pain does subside if I don’t or rarely take in coffee . Is this true in any way or a myth ?

    Please help me how to understand what is my body saying and how do I get my doc to give a scan or mammogram etc that your saying is needed to confirm weather or not it’s tha ‘ C’ word .

    Also it is just my left breast not my right one .
    Is it true breast pain is also to do with mood swings stress etc ?

    Ok other sites have mentioned not ALL MAMMOGRAMS capture cancer it has to be done at a particular time in line with your period is this correct aswell ?

    Please please help me Denise and guide and pray for me .

    Regards Hannah

  17. Recently started having stinging sensations, itching, and pain in both breasts. I called my Dr and said I’m not waiting another 2 months for an annual mammo. Get me in now! I had the new 3-d mammo & a sono on both breasts and am perfectly find. Better to err on the side of caution, ladies. Take control of your bodies & get tested. Go for the mammo, go for the colonoscopy, go for a pap & if you feel something is wrong, don’t wait until your next annual exam. Wishing all good health!

  18. I have been referred for an urgent mammogram, having been to my GP yesterday with searing localised pain in my breast and armpit. The doc thinks they found a lump too….

    I’m absolutely besides myself right now. Will keep you posted….

    • Those testing times are SO HARD, but I am so thankful that they are taking you seriously and doing
      further testing. Some women get ignored when they have pain or even lumps! It is difficult to believe
      in the year 2015, but I hear about it quite frequently!
      Please do keep us posted – sending my best, Denise

  19. Thank you, I have been dealing with this sore on the underside of my breast of over a year now it will heal up all but 1 little spot and it gets a scap on it but the stinging feeling has gotten worse. I had a mammogram and a ultrasound and they say it’s nothing to worry about..

    • Angela – I’m so sorry you continue to have breast pain although you have been tested.
      I wish I had an answer for you. I’m sure you have also seen a dermatologist…
      Hoping you get led to the right doctor for you! Denise

  20. Thank you!! I have been dealing with this pain for over a year. I have had the mammogram and a ultrasound and they said everything is fine.. I’m still dealing with the pain and I have a sore spot on the underside of my breast that will not completely heal and I don’t know what else to do

  21. I’m an older woman who has been fighting the “no-pain” with cancer lie for years. Good for you for writing about it. Too bad that the internet is rife with the happy-happy-joy-joy lie that there would not be pain associated with a malignancy. Sick of this crap. Post-menopause by many years, feel like part of left breast is going to explode. Tired of this.

    • Jane, SO VERY sorry you have been overlooked because of breast pain. It is beyond frustrating!
      I hope you are getting the care you need and doctors are listening to you! Keep being persistent!
      Sending my best! Denise

  22. Reblogged this on Michelle O'Toole and commented:
    I had to post this because the same was true for me and I want to help get the word out there. Breast cancer CAN cause pain. If you have a sharp burning or stinging pain in your breast, get it checked out. Do not wait for a lump you can feel. I went in because of pain in one area, and they found tumors in both breasts. I am not trying to scare you. Often times the pain is something else. Just find out what it is so that it can be taken care of.

  23. I just like to thank you for this info…I was wondering though if I am experiencing these symptoms & doctor found cysts (multiple) through sonogram & I also had a mammo appx. 2 months or 3.. Today at work I was being to my knees by this stinging. May I ask your advice?
    Thanks in advance
    Worried bad!

    • Melissa – sure you can ask my advice. I would offer this – if you have EVER been told you have dense breast tissue, make sure
      you are getting a 3D Mammogram as they are much more accurate. I’ve had many women contact me who had the bee sting feeling but
      did not have cancer. But, of course, it is cause of great concern for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s