Itchiness In This Area Could Be A Red Flag Sign Of Breast Cancer

There are lots of far-from-dangerous causes of itching. For instance, did you know that cold weather makes you more itchy? Other causes of itching include skin conditions, certain clothes and even pregnancy.

But itchy breasts can be a lesser-known symptom of breast cancer, according to experts.

Here’s what you need to know

Cancer Research UK explains that “itchiness of the breast is not usually due to cancer” and is more often caused by other conditions that can affect the breast such as eczema or mastitis (inflammation of the breast).

But inflammatory breast cancer – a rare type of breast cancer that can cause skin changes in your breast – could result in the breast becoming red, inflamed, painful and swollen. And it can also cause itching in that area, too.

What is inflammatory breast cancer?

“Inflammatory breast cancer is rare,” Cancer Research UK shared. Fewer than 5% of breast cancers diagnosed are this type of cancer.

It happens when cancerous calls block the lymph drainage system in the breast, meaning fluid can’t drain properly. This leads to inflammation, redness and, sometimes, itching.

“Early IBC symptoms may include persistent itching and the appearance of a rash or small irritation similar to an insect bite,” the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. says.

“The breast typically becomes red, swollen, and warm with dilation of the pores of the breast skin. The skin may appear pitted like an orange peel, and nipple changes such as inversion, flattening, or dimpling may occur.”

The condition can come on suddenly. Other symptoms include:

  • swelling and redness of the breast

  • pain

  • swollen lymph nodes

  • firm or hard breast that is hot to the touch

  • skin that looks like orange peel (peau d’orange)

  • changes to the nipple such as flattening or an inverted nipple

  • a lump in the breast.

The symptoms can be similar to those of mastitis, which is often associated with breastfeeding.

”If you have a patch of itching skin, it is more likely to be eczema or some other type of skin condition. But it is important to get anything that is not normal for you checked out by your GP as soon as possible,” Cancer Research UK says.