59 answers

Is It Possible to Get Breastcancer While Breastfeeding?

I'm currently nursing my 3 month old and I found a lump in my breast.
I'm using my nursing bras I used with my previous baby, but they don't fit me exactly.
Some are too loose and some too tight, so I make adjustments everytime I change bras.
Needlesstosay, sometimes they are too loose, it jiggles and hurts my chest muscle.
But I don't think that would cause a lump.

I'm 33 with a mother who died of breast cancer around 40. So...should I get it checked out now, with my milk glands all working, or wait until I'm done a year from now?
I've never heard of anyone having cancer while nursing....have you?

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I believe you canm get breast cancer at any time and that even if odds are low you should never wait after finding a lump. Prompt action can be the difference between life or death.

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sounds like an infected gland or the start of one. the sore muscle feeling and a knot/lump. i would get it checked out and massage it and use a warm compress if it is a clogged gland.

You should go see your OB regardless. If you've got a clogged milk duct then you could be on your way to mastitis, which is a not so fun breast infection that gives you fever, chills, sore breasts, and a host of other flu like symptoms. I had it with both kids and it becomes very difficult to nurse, let alone take care of an infant and another child. You don't want it if you can avoid it. Perhaps your OB can give you some tips to unclog the duct if that is indeed what it is so you prevent yourself from getting mastitis.

On the other hand, if your lump is something more than a clogged milk duct, you should know now. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 while in the first trimester of her second pregnancy. The hormones grew the tumor so fast that she could see it at one point. Early detection saved her life. It has been 12 years since her diagnosis and today she's as healthy as ever. The earlier you know, the better.

Hi S.,

I would have it checked out. It could be a cysts also. I get them in my breast. Do not worry about it just have it checked.

Are you practing prevention to keep yout body strong since there is cancer in your family?

If you are interested in learning more email me and I will get more info for you.

Stay safe and well.

N. Marie

PLEASE get checked now!!! I worked with a woman in her late 20s who was diagnosed when her son was 4 months old. She received chemo and is recovering nicely. But you cannot wait!!!

I had a small lump when I first got pregnant with my first and my OB had me get it checkedout just in case. As we thought it was just a milk gland but hard to know unless they look at it. I would be safe and get it checked especially with the family history. I don't think nursing would stop cancer, just make it harder to find due to the milk glands.
GOod luck and hopefully it's just a milk gland.

Get it checked out now just to be safe. I had a lump when I was breastfeeding and it turned out to be a clogged milk duct. It's worth getting it checked out just to be safe. I had an ultrasound of my breast it was painless and easy. Hope everything is fine. Good luck!

Get it checked now. They may ask you to do a follow up after you are finished nursing, but with your family history it is a priority to get it checked. I hope it is a clogged duct and nothing more. Sadly, people can get breast cancer while pregnant or nursing. My husband is a radiologist and during training he saw several young mothers who were diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer while pregnant or nursing. He said it made him very sad because the mothers and children were so young and the cancer was so aggressive. The earlier treatment starts the better the chances of getting rid of it. Please, go in asap. I hope it turns out to be nothing.

Go see your doctor. It is probably a plugged milk duct, but why take a chance?

I would get it checked immediately. Especially with the history of your mom. At least call your OB. I have a friend with breast cancer and there were women in her support group who had been nursing and had breast cancer. It doesn't sound like you should wait on this one. I hope it's just a plugged duct and nothing more.

Hi S.,

I've never heard of anyone having breast cancer while nursing either. But by all means, call your doctor and get it checked out. It is probably nothing. But the fact that you have a family history and have found something that is unusual to you, I would have it checked out NOW!!! If it's nothing, you can relax. If it's something, you can start treating it right away!! Better safe than sorry!!

GET IT CHECKED NOW!!! That is how my sister found her lump, looking in the mirror. She was not breast feeding at the time, but I think you can get/have it any time!! Especially with your family history!!

Good luck and hopefully it is just a swollen milk duct, but please find out!!

It sounds like a clogged milk duct to me. Please have it checked out IMMEDIATLY because if it gets worse it could lead to infection, your milk drying up, etc. etc. I have a co-worker who had one get infected and she had to spend 5 days in the hospital.

Good luck

Yes you can develop breast cancer while breat feeding. But the most common issue may be a clotted duct. Try nursing with your child's chin pushing on the lump. Apply pressure (massage the lump) with your hand anytime you are nursing. Nursing rather than pumping can be one of the best ways to resolve this...Warm compresses before and after nuring can also help. Take a disposible diaper, wet it with water and microwave for a few seconds (find the best time that isn't to hot to put on your skin). With a disposible diaper you can then put it on your breast and use the velcro straps to secure it in place. You want to have this area loosen up within a day or two...If it is not getting better talk to your OB. Clotted ducts can become painful and infected if not taken care of timely. If it isn't clearing up, your OB can have the area ultrasounded to examine what is going on. For now, keep nursing on that side (always start on that side while you have the lump), NO UNDERWIRE bras (these can cause clotted ducts), warm compresses and massage the area.

I was also concerned about a lump while nursing. I was able to get an ultrasound rather than a mammogram, which has less interference from the nursing. Even though it didn't seem like it was a problem, my doctor thought it was worth getting checked out within the month.

Get it checked now. I found a lump under my arm after nursing my two week old (but I also was tandom nursing my 12 month old). I got it checked and turned out to be nothing. But don't wait.....

Mother of 4 (15,10,2,1)

Do not wait a minute. Have it checked out right away. It could be something as benign as a clogged milk duct, which needs to be dealt with (painless methods), or something more serious.

It probably is a clogged milk duct however you do need to have it checked. I have had the same problems and the clogged milk ducts turned into mastitis. With a family history as well I nor the doctor wanted to take any chances. The doctor can always do an ultrasound or needle biopsy (painless) to make sure it is milk in the lump.

I would make an appointment--not the kind of thing you want to gamble on. But while you are waiting to be seen, treat it like a plugged duct: warm showers, pressure with a warm washcloth. Try lying your baby on his/her back and nursing from above (sounds awkward, i know). If it goes away, you can cancel your appt.
BTW, someone once told me tumors aren't sore initially, don't know if it's true.
Best of health!

I agree with the other moms ... get yourself to a doc and get checked right away. You should be having regular mammograms by now if you aren't already. Good luck!

Dear S.,
By all means, get yourself thoroughly checked out and don't wait to do it.
It's not good to be an alarmist about these things and automatically think the worst. But, it's also not good to just assume there is nothing wrong. Unfortunately, breasts can be very lumpy and bumpy after pregnancy and during nursing. And, clogged milk ducts are extremely painful.
Be sure when you go to the doctor that you make them very, very aware about your mother. Don't let them just brush you off and tell you it's nothing without checking it out thoroughly. You deserve that peace of mind.
My maternal grandmother passed away at 52 from breast cancer. I remember being so terrified when my mother reached that age that something was going to happen to her too. I hate to say it, but I really was a bit of a wreck about it for a couple of years. Fortunately, she gets her mammograms every year and is in amazing health.
Just be proactive so you can relax and get back to just enjoying your precious little baby.

I had a lump in my breast when my son was four months old. Like you I was scared because my mom had breast cancer. I ended up going to the doctor and they scheduled an ultra sound (not a mamogram because I was nursing). The doctor diagnosed it as a clogged milk duct... The lump went away a month later. My doctor told me that it is rare for a nursing mother to get breast cancer. Try not to worry. You may want to get checked out for peace of mind.

Get a Mamogram as soon as possible. Early detection is key no matter the disease. I would make an appointment with you doctor asap. Especially if your mother had it, that puts you at higher risk and when breast cancer is found in younger women it is usually more agressive and deadly.

S. - I agree that you need to go to your doctor immediately. Although it is possible to get breast cancer while breast-feeding, chances are it is probably fibrocystic density or possibly an enlarged or infected milk duct. You can have a ultrasound while you are still breast-feeding. Since you have a family history of an early (premenopause) breast cancer in your mom (God Bless her - I know she is looking down on you and protecting you!) it is most important that you have it checked out immediately. Also, if it is an infected milk duct, you need to take care of that infection. God bless you and your baby - I know you are well, but you need to make sure with an ultrasound right away. I am hopeful that you will call your doctor today! Please let me know when you have the ultrasound results that everything is fine. V. G :o)

I don't know if it is possible to get breastcancer while breastfeeding or not but here are a couple of other things that may be going... to maybe put your mind at ease... a little. You may have one of two other things going on. Mastitus can cause hard lumplike sections of the breast due to plugged milk ducts. This is best helped by continuing to breastfeed and pump as often as possible as well as taking very hot showers or doing a hot compress on the breast in question. If it gets really bad a doctor can give you an anitbiotic to help but this is usually in case of infection.
The other thing that may occur is a fibroid. My sister and mother both had one after their first child which turned out to be benign but they did have to have a biopsy to ensure this. When my mother had hers it was horrible but my sister said her biopsy wasn't that bad... what a difference 20 years makes. Strangely enough, both of their fibroids disappeared after the birth of a second child.
To answer your question about breast cancer while nursing, I don't know anyone who got it while nursing but did now someone who got it while pregnant which was a whole different issue... it nearly cost her her life. Regardless, I would go see a doctor and have it checked at least at a preliminary level. You can never be too careful and your doc will now just what to do. Best wishes and I hope that everything works out for the best.

It is possible to get breast cancer at any time. Nursing or not. Please get it checked out ASAP. Pre-menopausal breast cancer tends to spread quickly and can be quite deadly. Sorry not trying to scare you but my biolocial mother died at 39 of breast cancer at at 34 I've had 2 breast MRI's, numerous mamograms and a couple of ultra sounds...just for early detection. Since you mother died of breast cancer that automatically puts you at higher risk. Call your doctor and make an appointment for Monday, with any luck it is a clogged milk duct but you won't know for sure unless you get it checked out.

Hi S.,

I know you have had 57+ responses and mine may be a bit different. I am a mother of 4 -- grandma of 1 and one on the way.. my children range for 10 - 23... I am also a nutritional consultant and I work with all natural, whole food products that feed the foundation of the body and balance the immune system. I have a couple of thoughts for you.

First, get nursing bras that fit.... it is very important for the milk ducts not to get clogged and for circulation within the breast and around the lymphatic system. Also, when showering, get a soft brush.. arms up .. brush down arms 10 times and around the bottom of the breast to help the lymphatic system flush well. This can help any blockages, etc. Done daily, this can be a helpful breast cancer prevention!

Second, I would recommend a thermography vs a mammogram.. do not want radiation.. no so good for you...
There is a location in most areas and you can request this and your insurance should cover this option. This is completely safe for you as it is done with heat detection of abnormal cells. This can be extremely helpful. I have worked with those who have had detection from stage 1-4 changes and when placed on a prevention program received clear results.

Third, there are some very real things you can do now that will allow your cells to be as healthy as possible as well as the milk you are providing your baby.
I want to encourage you to watch

.. www.sharethecause.com/live

This is a 10 minute documentary used to educate...which is my passion! Prevention education is the best long-term health and wellness program. I work with prevention as well as nutritional support for cancer, add/hd - autism, and other health challenges.

Once you watch the documentary, there is a comment section that will allow you acces to me via my email and phone. Please feel to contact me if you would like further specific help.
... Take the right steps and be at peace.. L. M.


If you found a lump in your breast, DON'T WAIT~~ Get it checked out now! You could have mastitis or a lump etc, but early detection of breast cancer has the best survival rates. Call your doctor today. Cancer can come at anytime whether you are nursing or not. I hope that you are ok but I would call your doctor asap to make sure everything is ok.

Take care,


I believe you canm get breast cancer at any time and that even if odds are low you should never wait after finding a lump. Prompt action can be the difference between life or death.

It is possible to have breast cancer while breast feeding. Please go talk to your Ob/Gyn...waiting a year or a few months is too long.

Of course it could be a cyst or something benign but it is so important not to ignore it.
All the best

A bra that doesn't fit well could definitely cause a plugged duct. If it's too tight it might be constricting a duct. Other people's advice about hot showers, massage, nursing/pumping, etc. are good. I've had many plugged ducts, as well as mastitis a few times. You don't want it to become infected and turn into mastitis. However you most DEFINITELY should get checked out to rule out cancer, especially since you have a family history. It can occur in nursing moms, so don't delay in heading to your doctor. If it turns out to just be a plugged duct or such, he/she can advise and show you how treat it.

Hi S.. Yes, you can have breast cancer while pregnant or nursing. Especially with your family history, go to the doctor please. And don't stress, just take it easy and get checked out to be on the safe side. There are lots of women who have completely benign lumps too, so keep an open mind. Best of luck, and congratulations on your newest baby.

I would definately be seen by your Doctor. I just saw a piece on T.V. where a women developed breat cancer while pregnant. It is often difficult to distinguish lumps verses milk glands while pregnant or breastfeeding, but it is worth having it checked out. Especially with your family history you do not want to take any chances. Good Luck and congratulations on your baby.

And if you don't have it checked out now and it is cancer, who is going to raise your child if you end up like your mother? There are lots of thinks "we" have never heard of, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Be on the safe side and get it checked.

You may want to wait for a couple of days before going to the doctors. YOu may have a plugged milk duct which will go away in a day or two. Let's cross our fingers! : )

If possible, try to wear a nursing bra that doesn't have an underwire. Underwire bras can lead to mastaitus (sp?) and plugged ducts.

Unfortunately, cancer doesn't put itself on hold for anything. A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 7 months pregnant...thankfully she acted quickly and is recovering extremely well, and her baby girl is a happy, healthy bundle of love. It could be certainly end up being nothing to worry about, but especially given your own mother's case, I'd get it checked out immediately. I certainly don't mean to frighten you, but its always best to act fast. -L..

Go see your doctor...it could just be an infected gland. I got one with my third child, not something I had experienced before, but it did make a lump in that area.
This way you will know what path to take. There is also something called fibrocystic breast tissue, that can feel like lumps also. Just be on the safe side and get it looked at, then you can feel safe, and you need to be there for that baby!!!


First off, congrats on your little one!

Second off, congrats for being so vigilant about breast exams and finding the lump. While chances are that it is just a plugged duct, please get it checked out anyway - especially given your family history. Your doctor can walk you through what the options are for examining the lump and you can talk through how to move forward. It is possible to get breast cancer while breastfeeding. In fact, a friend of mine who just weaned her twins after 15 months of nursing just found a lump and it, unfortunately, turned out to be breast cancer. While you're probably freaking yourself out, please pat yourself on the back for finding the lump and acting on it. Good Luck!


While the risk is low, PLEASE go to the doctor and insist on a diagnostic work up for this.

My sister, who was 37 and had NO family history or risk factors for breast cancer, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer while nursing her youngest son. She died 2 years later. I honestly believe that had she not been blown off by her GP 4 years earlier while she was nursing her first and found a lump in the same breast, we would have caught this earlier and had a chance to save her life.

Do whatever you need to do--but please have this worked up. If there is any question as to what it is, have a biopsy. Do not take the "wait and see" approach. And we will all rejoice with you when it turns out to be nothing more than a mastitis or cyst, please God.


It is most definitely possible to get breast cancer while breastfeeding. You should get this checked immediately. Best wishes.

I would get it checked out ASAP. Not to alarm you but my dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was breast feeding, at about 3 months in. There are other more benign conditions that it could be, but please have it at least checked out.

Could be a block duct. Try warm compresses and masssage toward the nipple when BFing. If it does not go away, check with the doctor to prevent mastitis. (an abcess in the mammory duct)

I have!!! Get it checked asap.... if you have the family history, don't wait!!! Good luck!!

Hi S. -

You can't really have a mammogram when you are breast feeding -- BUT -- what you are experiencing is most likely a clogged mammory gland, not anything worse.

I'd talk to your doctor, but in the meantime, warm compresses on both boobs, long hot showers over your breasts, and express ALL of your milk at least two times a day will really help with pain and keep your breasts pumping properly.

If you notice any red blotches on your breasts, if your milk is discolored (greenish or yellowish) or if you experience pain, this is a sign of an infection. Again, warm compresses and complete expressing are the best medicine.

Take care!


hey hun -
any lump found in the breast is cause to go see your doctor asap -
could also be a blocked/infected milk duct, not necessarily cancer though since you have family history there is even more reason to see a doctor asap -
good luck and i hope it's something minor!

Yes get it checked out! I know someone who had breast cancer while nursing and it went untreated for a while. Hopefully it is just a cloged milk duct but no harm in being sure.

I believe in being gentle and not freaking people out but I also believe in being very aggressive when dealing with the issue of breast cancer, expecially when it runs in your family. PLEASE, ask/push your doctor to check this out and don't wait! I have a friend who had a lump that they were watching for quite some time. Much, much later it was found to be cancer IN the milk duct! She had a mastectomy and fortunately is fine now. I am begging you NOT to wait and don't let your doctor wait either! It is your body and you deserve the most extensive work up they can provide to you. Hang in there and keep pushing if you need to. :)

Always NOW. I'm sure it's a gland, but now is the time to check anyway. Take care of yourself! C.

It could be a plugged duct. Get it checked. A good Dr can just palpate it and give you some feedback. You don't have to have a mammogram to get it checked. If your bra is too tight it can definitely cause a plugged duct. Don't wear underwire.

Do not hesitate to make an appt ASAP. I highly doubt any kind of misshapen bra would cause a lump. It could be nothing, but let a biopsy determine that before any additional time goes by. I had a lump, got the biopsy & things were fine. It may affect your nursing for a time, but the inconvenience will be worth it if it helps extend your life! We all need to be diligent about our health!

I think if you are that worried about it being cancer, you may want to go in and talk to your doctor.
Does the lump hurt you at all? I know that when I breastfed both of my kids, I got painful lumps in my breast. Those turned out to be clogged milk ducts. With that, you can try massaging it while feeding or apply heat to it. You can also go in and talk to a lactation nurse to see what she thinks. If your nursing bra is too tight, maybe that is causing clogged ducts. Maybe go buy a looser bra and see if that helps.

make a GYN appt w/ your Women's Health Clinic asap, but maybe it's just a clogged duct. Best of luck & many blessings

Yes get it checked out now. They can do an ultrasound instead of a mamogram. You can have cancer while you are nursing. Nursing does not prevent cancer. Go ahead and make a Dr apt. you will feel better when you get it checked out.
Good luck

YES!! You should have your lump checked out ASAP and hopefully it will turn out to be nothing, but it is indeed possible to develop breast cancer while pregnant and/or nursing. The hormones of pregnancy can make cells grow faster--this did happen to a friend of mine who thought she was protected while she was nursing for 2 years and instead ended up with a later stage breast cancer. If you get it checked out right away, either you will be reassured, or you will be catching a cancer at an early stage that will be way easier to treat successfully. Especially with your family history, it's important to be checked out. Don't delay and please keep us posted!

Well, I'd get checked by your ob/gyn first of all. However, when I was nursing I would get hard spots in my breasts due to clogged milk ducts and such. If a warm compress and massaging the breast and maybe expressing some of your milk doesnt take away the lump, have it checked right away. It is in our nature to always think of the worst case scenario. I have never heard of anyone getting cancer while nursing, but that doesnt mean it doesnt happen. You are more aware of your breasts now and the lump may have been there before and you just didnt realize it. I'd have an expert give me an opinion asap. good luck.

Please have yourself checked out...get a second opinion...Please right away! Breast Cancer affects everyone...1 out of 8 women...70% had no history of breast cancer...I've several friends (new moms) affected by this disease w/ no family history.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For that reason, I'm having a fundraiser as well as walking for MSABC in San Jose...please don't wait & get checked out!

Hi S. .. I also do not want to worry you but please please get it check out now, it maybe nothing but it needs looking in to if not only for peace of mind. Good luck J.

You don't think it's a clogged milk duct?

You should have it checked out regardless, especially since there is a family history.
I wish you the best and pray for your good health.

S., have that definitely checked by your OB/GYN. My friend, who is 34 got breast cancer when she was breastfeeding at about 6 weeks!! Her mom also died of breast cancer around 40..... You are going to be probably fine, but it's better to be safe. Waiting a year is toooooo long. Wish you good luck!

Honestly, you should never wait to get something like that checked. Chances are it is nothing, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Good luck!!

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