Cancer

Question
Posted by: Stacey | 2017/11/04

Q.

Breast changes that haven't improved

I am 30 and have breastfead 3 children (youngest is now 4). I noticed a change on my right breast and thought I could feel a lump. I went to my GP who checked my breasts and gave me anti inflammatory medication and said that I had 'granula breasts' and they should 'settle down'. Nothing improved but i wasn't in any discomfort. After about 8 weeks, I noticed changes on my areola - just along the edge. it spread into a patch of what I thought was dry skin and after a few weeks of trying different shower gels etc I went back to the GP. He examined me and also took some skin scrapings. He prescribed me with a steroid cream and said to use twice daily for 2 weeks. It didnt help and my breast was aching and very sensitive. So I went back a 3rd time and was given anti fungal cream. Again, after 2 weeks, nothing has improved and I now have a very itchy and sore nipple to boot. The dry skin is also still there. Its really getting my down because I feel gross and its causing an issue in my marriage as I am not really comfortable with my body any more. I just wondered if you had any advice, before I go back to my GP for a 4th time.

Expert's Reply

A.

Cancer expert
- 2017/11/20

Dear Stacey, thank you for a very detailed history. According to you the doctor diagnosed your breast problem as ‘granular breasts’. Maybe the doctor meant to tell you that you have ‘dense breast tissue’ which is something totally different. I am also not sure whether he meant that you have a granular cell lump in your breast.

Breast tissue is composed of milk glands, milk ducts and supportive tissue (dense breast tissue), and fatty tissue (non-dense breast tissue). When viewed on a mammogram, women with dense breasts have more dense tissue than fatty tissue. 

Granular cell tumours (lumps) are thought to start in early forms of nerve cells. They are very rarely found in the breast. A granular cell tumour of the breast can most often be felt as a firm lump that you can move, but some may be attached to the skin or chest wall. They are most often are in the upper, inner part of the breast. A mammogram and/or breast ultrasound may be done to learn more about the shape, size, and location of the tumour. Granular cell tumours are sometimes thought to be cancer because they can form lumps that are fixed in place, and they can also sometimes look like cancer on a mammogram. A biopsy (removing a sample of tissue to be looked at under the microscope) is usually needed to be sure this breast change is not cancer. Granular cell tumours are usually removed along with a small margin (rim) of normal breast tissue around them.

It is suggested that you return to your treating physician and request him to explain to you exactly what his diagnosis of your breast problem is. You should also request a mammogram.

As far as the dry, itching skin is concerned, you should request your doctor for the result of the skin scrapings that he took. From all what you have told me (although you are still young) the problem should be investigated thoroughly as there is always a possibility that it might be Paget’s Disease.

Paget's disease of the breast affects the nipple and usually the skin (areola) surrounding it. It is easy to mistake the signs and symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast for skin irritation (dermatitis) or another noncancerous (benign) skin condition. Possible signs and symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast include:

·        Flaky or scaly skin on the nipple

·        Itching

·        A tingling or burning sensation

·        A lump in the breast

·        Eventually redness with oozing or hardened skin resembling eczema on the nipple, areola or both.

·        Later on a flattened or turned-in (inverted) nipple

·        Thickening of the skin on the breast

 

Signs and symptoms usually occur in one breast only. The disease typically starts in the nipple and may spread to the areola and other areas of the breast.

The skin changes may come and go early on, or respond to topical treatment, making it appear as if the skin is healing. On average, women experience signs and symptoms for several months before getting a diagnosis.

It is a good sign that you are aware of changes in your breasts. If one feels a lump in one’s breast, or if one experiences itching or skin irritation that persists for more than a month, one should request one’s doctor for a thorough examination. (MCH).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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