When You Should Worry About Breast Pain

Unexplained Breast Bruising Sometimes, you might notice a small area on your breast that looks red, pink, or even purple, resembling a bruise. It’s easy to… Alli Anderson - September 12, 2023

Unexplained Breast Bruising

Sometimes, you might notice a small area on your breast that looks red, pink, or even purple, resembling a bruise. It’s easy to dismiss it as a minor concern, but it’s essential not to underestimate such changes in your breast’s appearance. Breast redness can be a classic symptom of a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer can initially present with skin changes, making it appear as though you have a bruise on your breast. While unexplained bruising on the breast might not necessarily signal cancer, it’s a symptom that should not be ignored. Early detection and medical evaluation are crucial in addressing any unusual breast changes promptly.

On the topic of bruising, it can occur when tiny blood vessels beneath the skin rupture, causing blood to leak and collect. In the context of the breast, hematomas are collections of blood that can form due to damage to larger blood vessels. While hematomas can develop without any apparent injury, they are often linked to trauma or surgical procedures involving the breast, including cosmetic surgery, gender-affirming (top) surgery, and reconstructive procedures following cancer treatment. The good news is that hematomas typically resolve on their own over time, without requiring specific treatment. However, any unexplained changes in your breast’s appearance or the presence of a breast bruise should be discussed with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying concerns and ensure your breast health.


Family History of Breast Cancer

Your risk of developing breast cancer may be higher if a close relative, such as a mother, sister, or daughter, has had breast cancer at a young age. In such cases, it might be advisable to consider genetic testing to assess your genetic risk factors. Genetic testing is a straightforward process, typically involving a blood test that is often covered by most insurance companies. While the testing itself is relatively simple, the decision to undergo genetic testing is significant and requires careful consideration. It’s essential to weigh the potential implications of the test results on various aspects of your life, including your health, career, and family.

Starting with genetic counseling is a wise step for anyone who suspects they might carry a gene that increases the risk of cancer. This process can help you understand the significance of genetic testing and its potential impact on your well-being and family members. Guidelines for who should undergo genetic testing may evolve over time. Typically, your doctor may recommend it if a close family member has tested positive for carrying a mutated gene, you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, or other specific factors apply, such as Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry or multiple cases of breast cancer within your family.

Genetic testing may begin with a family member already diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, and if they test positive for a mutation, other family members can be tested to determine their risk. However, if no one in the family carries the mutation, the test is considered non-informative and cannot identify at-risk family members.