First For Women

Is this breast lump cause for concern?



I have a small lump just under the skin on my breast. It’s uncomforta­ble when I touch it, but I’ve always heard that lumps that hurt can’t be cancer. Is this true, or is it something to worry about?


It’s true that lumps that cause pain or discomfort are typically not cancer, but I always advise having your doctor check any breast lump. There are many benign breast conditions that are much more common than breast cancer that can cause pain, including cysts, fibroadeno­mas and abscesses (a buildup of pus caused by an infection).

Sometimes we can tell if the lump is a cyst or abscess, in which case we drain it right in the office. However, most of the time, a mammogram and/or an ultrasound is needed to make a diagnosis. Also, be aware that breast cancer doesn’t always present as a lump: It can also appear as skin thickening in or around the breast, nipple changes or discharge, or swelling in or around the breast, collarbone or armpit.


Since being diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve had trouble regulating my blood sugar and I’ve had three yeast infections. Are they related?


Mostly likely: Studies show diabetes increases the risk of yeast infections, especially if your blood sugar isn’t under control. That’s because high blood sugar affects the whole body, and since yeast feeds off sugar, it may overgrow in the vagina’s moist environmen­t.

While yeast infections can be treated with antifungal medication like Monistat or Diflucan, women with diabetes can have a tougher time fighting them off.

Keeping your blood sugar under 140 mg/dL will help prevent the infections. But if you’re taking SGLT-2 inhibitors for your diabetes, you may want to ask your doctor about switching to a new medication, as this class of drugs works by helping the kidneys excrete sugar through urine, which can give the yeast a constant food source.

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