Myth: Breast pain is a definite sign of breast cancer
Here’s The Truth
Interestingly, breast pain is usually not a sign of breast cancer. In fact, one surgeon estimates that only about 1 percent of women will be diagnosed with cancer after feeling pain in their breast. On the flip side, some women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer will report some breast pain.
The most common symptom of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, is a new breast lump, though most lumps themselves are not cancerous or painful. Other potential breast cancer symptoms can include swelling, changes in the nipple or skin, discharge, swollen lymph nodes, and, occasionally, breast or nipple pain. It is also important to remember that many of these symptoms can also be signs of benign (non-cancerous) issues. Likewise, breast pain can result from anything from an unsupportive bra to hormones, from an injury to water retention.
If you are experiencing recurring breast pain, however, talk with your doctor about potential causes and solutions.
Medically reviewed June 2023