Dear Dr Tola,
I have been having pain in both of my breasts for about a week now. However, this is not the first time because I have often felt such pain on and off for the past 6 months. Sometimes, it hurts so much I cannot sleep on my chest. What should I do?
Fine Girl, 24.
Dear Fine Girl,
I want to assume your most pressing concern is the fear of breast cancer and I want to assure you that pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer. In fact, cancer lumps are generally painless.
Breast pain, especially at your age, is usually a sign of the changes that take place in the breasts monthly. More significantly, if you have noticed that the pain occurs some days preceding or during your period, it usually is totally harmless and all you need is a light painkiller to feel better.
However, if you are breastfeeding presently, it may be a more sinister sign and may require some medical attention. It may be that the breasts are engorged and you may need help in expressing the milk. Worse still, it may be a sign of an infection, especially if you also feel feverish or the milk is bloody or discoloured.
So, Fine girl, with all of these in mind, I would advise you to proceed to a clinic where a medical doctor can check you and make a right diagnosis. You will be fine, don’t worry!
A Quick Note to Everyone: Breast cancer is still a major killer in women, and early detection is still the most reliable lifesaver. What that boils down to, basically, is that every woman must take responsibility for her own health and carry out self-examination regularly. And if you feel any lump, go see a doctor immediately. There are more diagnostic facilities available now in the country than before and they are not as expensive as you may expect.
DEAR DOCTOR TOLA is written by a female medical doctor to give you medical advice on women health issues, correct answers to your questions and current information on trending health news. It is however not intended to provide diagnosis and treatment, both of which are frequently inaccurate without a real physical consultation.
The author also blogs at toladimeji.wordpress.com.
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