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what are the odds that I have breast cancer

By May 17, 2010 - 4:18am
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Hi My Name Is Bonnie,
I am 39 y/o will be 40 in june. For about 7 months now I have had constant pain in my right breast. I am having a dark greenish and brown but mostly green discharge from my left breast. I have had bloodwork done to check for pituitary problems and that was negative. My Dr. felt many small lumps in my right breast and is very concerned. He took a sample last week and sent it to the lab to check for cancer cells. I am scheduled to have a mamogram tomorrow. Breast cance does not run in my family but I am a smoker for 24 years now and I read that smoking can cause breast cancer. I have never had anything like this before and I am a little scared. please let me know what you think.

Thank You,

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Hi Bonnie
I'm sorry you are going through this. I'm sure it is very scary. It is possible you have breast cancer. I cannot give odds, I really don't think anyone but an oncologist could do that. But there are also other medical issues that can cause a discharge or lumpiness. We have a page on breast discharge: http://www.empowher.com/breast-discharge/content/breast-discharge-what-does-it-mean

Other problems that can cause symptoms similar to yours are bacterial or fungal infection, abscess, or mammary duct ectasia. I have links to articles about this for you. The first is for Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nipple-discharge/MY00467/DSECTION=cause, the second is for Medline Plus and National Institutes of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001515.htm

The most important thing you can do right now is to follow up with your medical care, so you can find out exactly what is going on and do something about it. Sometimes people get so afraid they stop the followup and the problem gets much worse. I have experienced this with patients and it is heartbreaking.

It is good that you are seeking care and looking for information. I'd like to recommend a book to you. It's called Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. I had a lumpectomy about 12 years ago, after already having had cervical carcinoma in situ. I was very afraid I had cancer again, and I had a teenaged son. Dr. Love's book is, in my opinion, a must-read for women but particularly if you are having a problem with your breasts. It explains everything so well and I always felt calmer after I sat down for a read. They have a research foundation and website as well: http://www.dslrf.org/endingbc/

Good luck to you. Please let us know how you do. We really do care.

May 18, 2010 - 6:43am
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