Itching a Sign of Breast Cancer?

Last Modified: March 12, 2006

Share article


Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I have read that itching of the breast may be a symptom of breast

cancer. Is this a myth or is it true?

Answer

Angela DeMichele, M.D., MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, responds:

Itching can be a symptom of breast cancer, but it is a very uncommon one. It can occur with a relatively uncommon type of breast cancer called "inflammatory breast cancer", in which the breast becomes significantly swollen, red, warm and  sometimes - itchy. These symptoms are often very rapid in onset. Much more commonly, though, breast itching is a symptom of a benign (non-cancerous) skin condition, such as eczema or contact dermatitis. Breast itching should be checked by a physician, to make sure that none of the other signs of inflammatory breast cancer are present, and may require consultation with a dermatologist to treat an underlying skin condition.


News
RSNA: MRI May Improve Breast Cancer Detection Rate

Nov 28, 2014 - In women at high risk of breast cancer, adding magnetic resonance imaging after three years of screening with mammography and ultrasound increases the cancer detection rate, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago. In other news, for women aged 30 to 39 years with focal signs or symptoms, adding mammography to ultrasound may not significantly increase the cancer detection rate.



I Wish You Knew

Screening with Mammography: Looking at the Controversy

View More



Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.




OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More