Pain

Breast pain or tenderness is a common symptom. Most often, these symptoms are attributable to the normal physiologic cycle. Ask the following questions of any patient with breast pain:

' 'Can you describe the pain?'' ''When did you first experience the pain?'' ''Are there any changes in the pain with your menstrual cycle?'' ''Do you have pain in both breasts?'' ''Have you had any injury to the breast?''

''Is the pain associated with a mass in the breast? nipple discharge? nipple retraction?'' ''Has there been a change in your bra size?''

Rapidly enlarging cysts may be painful. Cystic disease of the breasts is usually painless. Although breast pain is a relatively uncommon manifestation of breast cancer, its presence does not exclude the diagnosis. Never delay evaluation of a painful breast mass.

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