Breast Pain: Distinguishing Between Normal and Abnormal

Breast pain is a common concern among women and can make you feel anxious and scared. However, feeling some discomfort in your breasts can either be normal or an indication of breast cancer. This article teaches you about breast pain to help you know what’s regular and when medical attention is needed.

Is Breast Pain Normal?

Dr. Marleen Meyers, director of the Cancer Survivorship Program at NYU Langone Health Perlmutter Cancer Center, said discomfort in the breasts during menstruation is the most common type of breast pain. She also said a dull and achy feeling usually happens a week or two before menstruation begins. This pain can also be caused by lumpy breast tissue called fibrocystic breasts, which become more painful and tender just before your menstrual period.

Breast soreness can also be an indication of pregnancy. According to a recent survey, 76% of pregnant people experienced breast pain or tenderness during their first trimester. This soreness can also be triggered by drinking caffeinated teas, soda, and energy drinks.

However, Meyers said pain that isn’t associated with your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or caffeine can be concerning. She also said you should see a doctor immediately if the pain happens in the same spot in one breast or you notice a lump or thickness. Meyers said it’s important to let your doctors know so they can decide on the best treatment plan.

When Is Breast Pain Linked With Cancer?

Breast pain is usually present to some extent with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. However, cancerous tumors are not generally reported as painful.

When Do You Need To See A Doctor?

You should seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:

● Clear or bloody discharge from your nipple
● A new lump that comes with the breast pain
● A lump that doesn’t go away after your menstrual period
● Signs of breast infection, including pus, local redness, or fever
● Persistent breast pain
● Redness of the breast skin that looks like a rash, with dilated pores and hard skin.

How Can Breast Cancer Be Treated?

There are different available treatments for breast cancer, including:

Chemotherapy: This involves using medicines to shrink and kill cancer cells. The drugs can be pills or injections in your veins.
Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy rays to kill cancer cells
Biological therapy: This involves working with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells
Hormonal therapy: This involves restricting cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow


Breast pain can be discomforting, but it isn’t always a sign you have cancer. However, you should consult your doctor if you have any long-lasting pain that can’t be explained.