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Paula asked...

I have an ache in my left breast.

Tags: cancer

I have an ache in my left breast. both sides at the side of my rib cage are very tender to the touch. this ache comes and goes and i have had the gp check my breasts and had a mammogramm but it dosent feel right. i do some lifting in my job as a carer could it be muscle strain. it is not painful just there is just a slight ache. ive had it on and off for about 2 years but it seems to be more prominent now.

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The answer

Pain in the breast or ribs is not the commonest presentation of early stage breast cancer.  Most frequently a lump or appearance change in the breast is noted first so that is why it is important for women to check their breasts at least every month.  If your breast physical examination and mammogram are negative but the pain is worse on moving then it is more likely that the pain may be  musculoskeletal in origin. Back, rib or chest wall muscle strains are possibilities.  If the pain is associated with shortness of breath, cough or wheeze for example then a respiratory source such as a chest infection, pleurisy or other lung disease may be the cause.  I would recommend that you see your doctor for further physical examination and it may be that you may then need further tests including a chest X-ray to exclude other possible causes.

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