Can Itchy Breast be a Sign of Breast Cancer?

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The accessory gland of a woman’s body is breasts. Breast is an important modified sweat gland in a woman. We all know their importance. It is always required to take care of the breast properly. Sometimes itchy or rashes on breast might sign towards dry skin or a more drastic condition such as cancers, for example, inflammatory breast cancer or Paget’s disease.

In this article:

Causes of Itchy Breast
Symptoms of Itchy Breast
Treatment of Itchy Breast
Remedies for Itchy Breast
Seek Medical Help
Takeaway

Are Itchy Breasts A Sign of Cancer?

Causes of Itchy Breasts

Atopic Dermatitis

The most common cause of itchy breast with or without itchy nipple is Atopic Dermatitis. It is also known as Eczema (inflammation of the skin). Some people naturally got dry skin while in some it develops due to excessive sweating, sun exposure or use of harsh skincare products.

itchy breast cancer

 

Growing Breast

Whenever the breast grows the skin around the breast stretches and causes itching along with discomfort. Growth of breasts can be due to puberty, pregnancy or due to weight gain or hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.

Heat Rash

Heat rash is also common to occur. It is seen in women residing in the hot climatic area or when she exercises at high temperatures. These develop as small pinhead blisters in addition to the itching. Another name of heat rash is “prickly heat” or “miliaria”

Allergens

These days allergy is very common. Allergens are also responsible for causing itchy breasts. Following products are cause an allergic reaction on the body :

  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Perfumes and deodorants
  • Skincare products

Symptoms of Itchy Breast

Breast Cancer can be considered as the rarest cause of itching. Itching can be considered as a symptom of breast cancer such as inflammatory breast cancer and Paget’s disease. Paget’s disease is often mistaken with dermatitis. It is important to note that, in Paget’s disease the skin around the areola and the nipple are affected. Along with itching, redness, flaky nipple skin and burning sensations are seen as symptoms.

Breast infections such as Mastitis can cause breast and nipple itching. Usually seen in new mothers who have just initiated breastfeeding. Along with itching, breast tenderness, redness is also seen in mastitis.

Breast itching along with warmth can be signs of breast cancer. Changes in the texture of the breast is also a matter of concern.

Even breast cancer treatments can also cause itching. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormonal therapy can have a side effect such as itching. Hormonal therapy including the following can cause itching :

  • Anastrozole
  • Exemestane
  • Raloxifene
  • Toremifene
  • Letrozole
  • Fulvestrant

Treatment of Itchy Breast

Atopic dermatitis can be treated by applying moisturizers and sunscreen on the dry skin It is better to keep these creams in refrigerators and then apply on the breast. This is done to keep the skin cool and ease itching.

Mastitis, the breast infection can be treated with antibiotics, it is better to take a complete course to avoid reoccurrence of the infection. Along with antibiotics, analgesics (pain killers), resting and intake of plenty of water are recommended.

In the case of Paget disease and other breast cancer, surgical removal of the affected breast or both breast is done. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy also lethal for cancerous cells.

The topical use of corticosteroids can also reduce inflammation. It is also good to avoid allergic substances to stop itching.

Remedies for Itchy Breast

According to the cause, treatment is decided. The majority of symptoms resolve with the counteract treatments such as the use of proper skincare products, washing the skin with lukewarm water and sensitive soaps. Skincare products containing no dye or perfume are better at relieving the itchy breast.

Proper skincare is essential to prevent the itching of the breast. Keeping the breast clean and dry. In the case of mastitis during breastfeeding, the mother should try to alter the position of feeding frequently and ensuring the baby empties the breast before feeding him to another breast.

Seek Medical Help

In case, the itchy breast does not go away within a few days it is better to consult the doctor. Under the following condition, a visit to the doctor is mandatory :

  • Brown, yellow or bloody drainage
  • Painful breasts
  • Inverted nipple rather than everted.
  • Thickened irregular breast tissue
  • The resemblance of the skin of the breast to orange peel

Takeaway

There is nothing to panic about as not every itching is a symptom of breast cancer. It is often caused by eczema or curative skin conditions. In case, if a woman experiences abnormal itching it is better to visit and consult the doctor. Doctors have to look into the matter, perform a certain test and give proper diagnosis with treatment for the underlying cause.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3063299/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506094/

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