The Merck Manual Home Edition suggests that pain in the breasts, which accompanies menopause or even post menopause is likely attributable to hormonal changes, cysts, infection, fibrocystic changes and in rare events, breast cancer. Pain is generally not a symptom of breast cancer in the early stages, but a licensed medical professional will be able to make that determination.
The Merck Manual Home Edition suggests that when women take hormone replacements for menopause, some pain and tenderness of the breasts may be present. This is a result of estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy that increases swelling and therefore creates pain.
The Breast Health Project suggests that cysts are rather common, and that more than 60 percent of women have them. Despite popular beliefs, the density and presence of fibrous material is not breast cancer. While it is true that the density of the breast is indicative of cancer risk, these cysts are actually filled will fluid rather than being a harmful lump. However, the physician will generally aspirate the fluid from any cyst or suspicious lump and check it for cancer as a precautionary measure.
Breast infection can occur as a result of a clogged duct and form an abscess. According to Managing Menopause, this blockage and/or inflammation will require draining and treatment with antibiotics to alleviate pain. If discharge accompanies redness, tenderness, heat, or lumpiness, the condition may be indicative of a more serious condition, which requires immediate medical attention.
Breast cancer does not usually present symptoms or pain in the earliest stage. Breast Cancer.Org posits that lumps may be too small to notice or pick up during a routine breast exam. A cancerous breast lump is most likely to be painless and hard, but a lump-like breast mass can also present as round, soft and tender to the touch. The American Cancer Society lists symptoms of breast cancer as swelling, skin irritation, pain, nipple pain/inversion, redness, scaliness, thickening of the nipple or breast skin, discharge besides breast milk, or a lump or mass in the armpit.
- Merck Manual Home Edition: Introduction, Breast Disorders"; Nov 2008
- Breast Health Project:"Breast Cysts, Fibrocystic Breast Disease"; May 2010
- Managing Menopause: "Breast Health"; Oct 2008
- Breast Cancer.Org; "Understanding Breast Cancer"; Nov 2008
- American Cancer Society: "What is Breast Cancer?"; Sep 2009