So, I cannot stop panicking--I am worried sick about breast cancer. It all started a month ago, when I noticed what I thought were new stretch marks on my breasts (my husband says they have been there for long time--several months to a year at least). I had also been having breast tenderness, more so in my larger left breast than in my right breast (I have mild scoliosis and my right breast is smaller, squashier and less developed than my left as a result). I have been in escalating perimenopause for a few years, and I do know (now anyway) that breast tenderness and pain are very common at this stage. Anyhow, I also gained a bit of weight over the winter, and both breasts have gotten saggier and a bit larger in the past 6-9 months as well. But, I noticed these marks, googled (I know, I know), and watched page after page of Inflammatory Breast Cancer pop up. I read a lot of it (again, I know), and started compulsively checking my breasts, a lot. I've actually lost a few pounds running up and downstairs to look in the bathroom and bedroom mirrors many, many times a day, and adding it up, I suppose I had been checking them (especially the left) for up to 4 hours a day at least. I was even getting up in the night to check. Bra on and off up to 30 times a day. Then, my bras suddenly all seemed unbearably tight, and I noticed pain along the side of my left breast. This is developed into pain along the side and then across the chest (above the breast) and occasionally into the inside of the left breast, under the arm (not the armpit, but maybe 4 inches lower and across my very upper back to my shoulder blade. Most of it feels like pulled muscles, which is what my husband thinks it is, but there is also some aching. My breast is not swollen as far as I can tell, and hasn't changed in the month I've been obsessing, though it seems like a notice a new, weird thing about my breasts daily, never having studied them so closely before. I have been doing a lot of gardening, and did some fairly strenuous lifting setting up for an art sale this past weekend (I am a photographer). The pain is sometimes mild, a few times severe, seems worse when I lean forward (to tie my shoes, things like that), and oddly disappears overnight. There is zero pain when get up in the AM, and it seems to worsen throughout the day and is worst right after I remove my bra in the evening (for about two hours after). I bought new bras and was resized from a 38DD to a 36G. I know neither has gotten any larger in the last week, b/c I've been measuring them w/a dressmaker's tape to be sure.
The worst of the pain is in my back and "side boob" (I am older, and a bit heavy, and have a "flap" of fat there and quite a bit of side boob on both sides, more so on the left).
So, thoughts? Have I really self-checked myself into pulled muscles? There is no lump, no itching, no redness (other than stretch marks), no dimpling, nipples are fine, no rash or anything. Just the pain and for a while I was convinced the left was swelling or growing larger, but the tape measure seems to confirm my husband's assertion that nothing has changed in the past year, other than some progressing sagging on both sides. I have to admit, both do seem larger and saggier (not just the one).
I am terrified of doctors and only go when I am basically unable to function. I do see a chiropractor for sciatica and TMJ. Is this a muscle thing? An all in my head thing? Or do I actually have cause for concern? I read somewhere that back pain is sometimes a symptom of breast cancer, in addition to breast pain, and that it is often confused with sore muscles. Anyone ever experienced this? Any ladies who have undergone or are undergoing perimenopause who can let me know if they've had anything like this as a result? This particular pain has been going on for about 2 1/2 weeks.