MSD Manual

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Common Breast Symptoms

Common Breast Symptoms

Symptom

Causes

Comments

Hormonal changes related to menstrual periods, pregnancy, or use of hormonal drugs

Large breasts that stretch supporting tissues

Very rarely, breast cancer

Pain that occurs throughout both breasts is usually caused by hormonal changes related to menstrual periods.

Breast infections, including abscesses*

Cysts

Fibrocystic changes

Galactocele (a clogged milk duct)

Scar tissue that develops after an injury

Breast cancer

Lumps in the breasts are relatively common and are usually not cancerous.

Because cancerous and noncancerous lumps are hard to distinguish during a physical examination, tests are usually done.

Most commonly, noncancerous milk duct tumors (intraductal papilloma)

Breast cancer

Breast infections, including abscesses*

Fibrocystic changes

Other disorders, such as pituitary, brain, or thyroid disorders)

A nipple discharge occurs normally sometimes—for example, during milk production after childbirth.

Abnormal discharges vary in appearance depending on the cause.

* Breast infections are very rare except during the first few weeks after childbirth.