i am experiencing a dull pain just under my right arm pit

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I have just felt under my right armpit and felt pain for the first time, i am concerned that as it's near to my right breast, it may be the beginnings of a problem. I can feel no lumps, and there is no history in my family of breast cancer, although my grandmother died of ovarian cancer when she was 84. I am terrified of going to the local hospital for a mammogram, in fact i won't go to see a doctor until i get home to America. I was just wondering if anyone knows whether i should be concerned or would it be ok to wait till i go home which will be in about three months.Thank you.

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Carole

    You didn't say how old you are, because that is relevant - nor whether you have had children, or are, or have recently been breast feeding.

    Before I offer any support or advice, I should tell you that I am a retired doctor, in my early fifties, who had two breast cancers diagnosed and treated a year ago, so although I am surely very out of date, I perhaps know a little more than a passing reader of this post.

    If you are worried about the possibilty of cancer, which I guess you are, since you mention a mammogram, then I can reassure you that breast cancer very rarely presents, at least in its early stages, with pain. 

    Also, in the UK, mammograms are rarely performed on women under fifty years of age, as the tumour needs to calcify before it is visible on x-ray, and it usually hasn't before that age.  I am merely guessing that you are relatively young.

    The absence of a family history is in your favour, and I doubt that your grandmother's ovarian cancer, at such an exalted age, would have much bearing on your tendency towards the development of breast cancer.

    Ther are lots of very innocent reasons for pain under the armpit.  For example - you might have a cut or a boil, or some infection in your hand or arm, that has inflamed a lymph node, although that would usualy produce a tender lump in the armpit.

    You may well have strained some of the tendons ( and they are numerous) around the armpit, either with exercise, or by a fall, or doing something relative unusual, such as painting a room, or clearing out a cupboard that is overhead. Even carrying a heavy weight, such as a suitcase, can cause pain in that area.

    I think that the main concern here is whether you should leave things be until you return to the States in three months. 

    Firstly, do you have health insurance?  Presumably you do. 

    Secondly, despite what is written in the papers, the majority of specialists within the Heath Service are reasonably competent, as are most of the GPs. 

    Most importantly, do you not think that a visit to a local GP might put your mind at rest, until you return home?  You don't have to listen to, or take his/her advice, but it may be that they will be able to diagnose the problem for you - far more easily than I could over this medium.  Nor most people, I imagine.

    Also, if in the unlikely event that there is something of concern occuring, it would be far better to discover it now than in three months' time.  It is important to avoid unnecessary delay, where possible, with breast cancer. 

    If it were me, I would want to know now.

    If there was a need for surgery - you could always go straight back to the States for that.  Whatever your reasons for being in the UK are, nothing can be more important than your continuing health and well being.

    Finally - I had a benign breast tumour that was discovered when I was on holiday, in my early twenties. I was at medical school, had seen a few things, but not enough, and it terrified me.  From that experience, and my more recent ones, it would seem to me that for psychlogical reasons alone, and for your mental health, having a diagnosis asap could only help you.

    Do you have a partner or a good friend or a relative in the UK? 

    Have you spoken to family or friends in America?

    Support is all important when you are presented with something that frightens you, especially when you are far from home.

    In summary - I doubt that anyone could reassure you that it would be OK to wait three months before seeking medical advice.  I certainly would not, and I wouldn't wait that long myself.

    I hope that you can find the strength to go to a General Practioner, preferably next week, if not today.  Also - there are walk in breast clinics in some areas - it might be worth checkng that out on line. 

    Although it seems unlikely to me that you have anything much to worry about, there is always that doubt in your mind - so please get it checked out.

    I shall be thinking of you

    Very best wishes

    M smile

    Ps - do let me know how you get on, if you would like to.


    • Posted

      I also have a dull ache on both sides under my arm near the breasts. I am 30, get my period regularly and am currently 26 weeks pregnant. Does this pain have something to do with being pregnant?
  • Posted

    I also have a dull ache on both sides under my arm near the breasts. I am 30, get my period regularly and am currently 26 weeks pregnant. Does this pain have something to do with being pregnant?
  • Posted

    Hello, I have the exact some symptoms. I’ve had them for 6 months. About 3 months ago I went to the doctor for my first mammogram. Came back negative. So I don’t know what else it could be? 

    I’d be interested to see if you ever found out anything about yourself. 

    Also I am 40 yo and have 2 children. If that helps. 


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