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Why would I have an enlarged lymph node in my breast?

By Anonymous April 16, 2009 - 6:21am
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I am a 30 y.o. female with no family history of breast cancer. I found a lump in my right breast a short while ago. Over the next few weeks I had 2 sets of mammograms and an ultrasound done. I called my gyn daily to get the results of the tests, and when they finally came in the FNP returned my call. She stated that it was benign, and when I questioned her further she said it was an enlarged lymph node. Not being a pushy person, and I didn't really have any questions prepared for this scenario I let it go and hung up. Now I can't find any info online for why I would have an enlarged lymph node in my breast. From what I'm finding it must not be a common place, because I have yet to find anything.

So, my question is...Is this something that should be further tested? It is still the same size as when I found it about a month and a half ago. The only other symptom I am having is that occasionally my breast will ache slightly. It's usually only for a few seconds and it quits. It occurs maybe 1-2 times a day.

Add a Comment154 Comments

(reply to Naptastik)

Hi Naptastik,
Thanks for the information. You are right about needing to rule out these conditions. It is important to notice symptoms and get them checked out early to ensure proper treatment. I recently wrote an article about IBC. Check it out:
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Advocacy Sheet

November 25, 2010 - 8:51am

I agree with you Anonymous, I have Hashimotos which is also a auto immune condition and I have enlarged lympnoids too. Is that Parathyroid Glands? Hashimotos is a thyroid condition where my immune system attachs my thyroid. I don't have rum arthritis like you, but all my symptoms are the same. I take Armour thyroid meds and I have seen great improvement in the lympnoids. Maybe a thyroid condition? Have they biopsy your thyroid? You may have hashi's or graves. are you tired, weight gain or loss, any other symptoms?

July 27, 2010 - 7:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

Not to scare anyone but that is how my Non Hodgkin Lymphoma was found.

May 7, 2010 - 5:48pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Can you tell us more about your story, and how long ago this was (and, your age, if you don't mind)? What symptoms were you experiencing, what finally caused you to make a doctor's appointment, what tests were done, and when you were diagnosed, how has your condition been treated?

How are you doing now?

July 6, 2010 - 1:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Hi Everyone, I too have been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes in the breast. I detected a thickening of an area of the left breast tissue a few months ago and immediately saw my doctor. Initially he said he couldn't feel anything so asked me to go back a month later. On my second visit he had the nurse examine me and she said she could feel it, so he referred me to the breast clinic at hospital.

The specialist at the clinic examined me and felt the thickening so he sent me for a mammogram and the nurse rang me that afternoon to say the results were clear but they wanted me to have an ultrasound scan done of the area. I had to wait for the appointment (I'm in the UK) and the scan was performed a few weeks later. I was told there and then that no lumps or cysts were present and would receive a follow up appointment with the breast clinic.

Well I had my follow up last week and the specialist told me that the mammogram had revealed some enlarged lymph nodes in the breast tissue, but as the ultrasound showed nothing I had nothing to worry about and don't need to see him again. Naturally i am a little concerned why the nodes would be enlarged and what the thickening is. I asked him and he just said "sometimes the symptoms don't match the diagnosis".

After reading this thread I wonder if it is because I have an auto immune condition (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and maybe it is my body fighting infection? I must say, apart from the arthritis I am very rarely ill, and never catch viruses and stuff, although like another poster I do sometimes get little red boils/abscesses down below and I've had all the tests for diabetes etc and they couldn't find a cause for them.

I also have permanently enlarged Parotid glands in my neck, just below my ears (the ones that swell with mumps) and after lots of tests no cause has ever been established. This leads me to think that perhaps people with auto immune disorders may have associated enlarged lymph nodes and glands even when no infection is present. It may just be in response to the immune system fighting the body which is what happens in auto immune disorders.

July 27, 2010 - 8:35am
EmpowHER Guest

I am 29 and I too have an enlarged lymph node just above the nipple in my breast. It has only appeared in recent days and is very painful and swollen. My doctor was quite dismissive, saying it was likely hormonal. She said that she didn't need to see me about the issue, and just spoke with me over the phone. I was wondering if you think it could be from doing a lymph massage? I have been doing the Tanaka face and lymph massage, where the impurities are supposed to be flushed through the facial and neck lymph and into the lymphatic system. Do you think its possible that the massage has resulted in a swollen lymph node in my breast?

May 5, 2010 - 3:33am
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon,

I'm not familiar with the Tanaka massage techniques, though I learned a little about it while doing research for your question. However, the lymphatic system is connected throughout the body, so your theory doesn't seem unreasonable.

I'm a little concerned that your doctor was dismissive about any new lump in the breast, however. Has she been this way in the past when you have raised health concerns?

There is a chance that you have an infection there, and need antibiotics. Here's what the American Cancer Society says about new breast lumps:

"Breast lumps, like other symptoms, have to be considered along with other symptoms a woman may be having. For example, a new, tender lump that comes up at the same time as skin redness and a fever may be a sign of a breast infection. Still, any new lump or other change should be checked by a doctor or nurse, because at least one type of breast cancer (inflammatory breast cancer) can look a lot like an infection. Sometimes, even doctors have trouble telling the difference. Since this kind of breast cancer grows quickly, get back to the doctor right away with any breast infection that doesn't get better within a few days of being treated.


"Some women have breast pain or discomfort that is related to their menstrual cycle. This type of cyclic pain is most common in the week or so before a menstrual period. It often goes away once menstruation begins. Many women with fibrocystic changes have cyclic breast pain. This is thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels.

"Some benign breast conditions, such as breast inflammation (mastitis) may cause a more sudden pain in one spot. In these cases the pain is not related to the menstrual cycle. Rarely, breast cancer lumps can be painful, too."

Did you get the instructions for the massage from a massage therapist, a book or from the Internet? How long have you been doing it?

May 6, 2010 - 8:44am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Thank you for responding. I'm in the UK, and I go to various Dr's at the same office. This particular Dr is quite young and I had one other visit with her that was not very satisfactory. I will go to another though with the same issue.

The massage I have been doing has been for 2 weeks, once a day. I found on the internet. This is a link to it, if that helps.

The lump and pain began exactly 11 days after my last period and I am on the pill so its very regular. I woke up with it very swollen and the pain persisted for a few days now getting better each day.

May 6, 2010 - 9:04am
(reply to Anonymous)

This is good information, Anon. Thanks so much for writing back.

I am glad you're keeping close track of the lump, in terms of exactly when it appeared and how it is each day. I'm very glad that it seems to be getting better each day. That would seem to support the theory that it is lymph-node or hormonally connected.

If I were you, I would make an appointment with another doctor to have it checked out, and I would continue to monitor it into my next cycle. You want to see if it continues to get better -- and then you want to see if it comes back about the same time next cycle.

I watched the video, and certainly can't see where it would cause any harm. (Have you seen any effects from it?) However, I am skeptical about anything that promises, for instance, to completely erase wrinkles that already exist. Improve? Sure. Eliminate? Hmmm.

Please do come back and update us. I'm interested to know if the lump/pain goes away completely and what the doctor says.

May 7, 2010 - 9:11am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, I am a 23 year old female who also found a lump next to my breast. I had it examined and the gyn said it was a swollen node. I was given an antibiotic and but it didn't work. I never had a mammogram but she didn't seem the least bit worried about it when she examined it. just thought i would let you know that you arent alone!!!

March 12, 2010 - 10:30am
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