Breast Pain: Should I worry it could be Breast cancer?


Mastalgia is breast pain. There are two types of mastalgia or breast pain: cyclic and noncyclic. Cyclical breast pain is most often associated with menstrual periods. Noncyclical breast pain is not related to the menstrual cycle.


Mastalgia can be caused by:

  • Hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle
  • Pregnancy
  • Trauma to the breast
  • Mastitis
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Stretching of breast ligaments
  • Pressure from a bra
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Certain medications, such as hormone medications, antidepressants, or certain heart medications

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of having mastalgia may include:

  • Having a history of breast surgery or breast injury
  • Having large breasts


Symptoms of mastalgia may include pain in the breast area. Pain may be mild or severe. It may occur in both breasts or just one. It may be painful only in one spot or all over the breast.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, fever, or chills.

Call your doctor if you notice any other changes in your breasts, such as:

  • Change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Discharge from your nipple
  • New lumps or masses felt in the breast
  • Other changes to the skin on your breasts, such as crusting, dimpling, or puckering

 Call your doctor if your breast pain persists, interferes with your daily routine, or is in one specific area of your breast.


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is most often done with history of pain.

Your doctor may order further testing to look for any suspicious changes. These tests may include:

  • Mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • Breast biopsy


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may be based on what is causing your breast pain. General treatment options include:


Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may reduce the pain associated with mastalgia. Other medications may be prescribed to help reduce cyclical mastalgia.

If you are taking hormones, such as estrogen or progesterone, your doctor may make changes to your medications to reduce pain.

Other Treatments

Your doctor may suggest some changes depending on the cause of your breast pain. These might include:

  • Wearing a properly fitting bra that has good support
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Eating a low-fat diet
  • Using a hot or cold compress


There are no current guidelines to prevent mastalgia.

Breast Mass: Do I have Breast Cancer? What You Need to Know

Breast mass is a firm, sometimes tender, area within the breast tissue. Many women notice a breast mass at some point in their lives. There are many ducts and nodules within breast tissue and these can change with hormones and age. These changes are normal but you should not assume so until confirmed by a doctor. A breast mass can be scary when you do not know the cause, but there are many reasons for a breast mass to occur. The majority of breast masses are not cancer.

Treatment depends on the cause of the mass.


  • Apply a warm, moist compress to the breast area as needed but make sure your mass has been seen by a doctor
  • Place a towel between the compress and your skin.
  • Try gentle massage of the affected area only if the mass is not cancerous.
  • Wear well fitting bra. Make sure it is comfortable.

Keeping Track of Your Breast Mass

Your doctor may ask you to keep track of your breast mass. Some things to pay attention to include:

  • Do you feel pain or tenderness? Is it getting worse or better?
  • Do you notice the mass during your menstrual cycle or at other times?
  • Does the mass change size with your menstrual cycle or does it stay the same?
  • Has the mass grown or increased in size over time?
  • Is there any redness or discolouration in the skin above or around the mass?
  • Do you have nipple discharge? Notice the colour
  • Is the nipple on the affected breast pulled inwards?
  • Do you see “dimples” on the affected breast?

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • New or worsening sings & symptoms
  • Symptom goes on longer than 3 months. This is long enough
  • Signs of infection, including pus, redness, fever and chills
  • Increased pain & tenderness.
  • Discharge of any form from the breasts


NB: Breast cancer mass may be painless. It may not be threatening at the beggining. Always get a physician opinion when in doubt. Feel free to call or email us.

Taking Care of Yourself After Mastectomy. What You Need To Know

A mastectomy is surgery to remove part or the entire breast. This is usually done when breast cancer diagnosis indicates the malignancy is not contained in a very small area or when tests show a high risk of developing breast cancer. The incision is closed with stitches. In some cases, plastic drains are placed to drain fluid. They are usually removed in 1-2 days. Recovery time is about six weeks, assuming all normal circumstances

What You Will Need After Mastectomy:

  • Well-fitting support bra
  • Bandages for the incision area

Steps to Take After Mastectomy

Home Care After Mastectomy

  • Keep breast incisions clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 1 minute before changing the bandages.
  • You may have one or more tubes to drain blood and fluids.
  • Empty the drains and measure the fluid. Report bright blood or pus to your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower. Do not bathe or soak in water until completely healed.
  • Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra.
  • Be sure to wear the bra all day and all night. Do this for the first week after surgery.

Diet After Mastectomy:

  • Ask your doctor if you can resume your normal diet.
  • It is important to avoid alcohol and concentrated sweets.
  • East a healthy well balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • If you are diabetic, keep close monitoring on your blood sugar levels. The goal is blood sugar levels less than 150mg/dl

Physical Activity After Mastectomy:

  • Ask your doctor when you can return to work and drive.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activity.
  • If you had lymph nodes removed or total radical mastectomy:
    • Avoid tight clothing on the affected arm.
    • Do not carry anything heavy using the affected arm.
    • Elevate your affected arm as much as possible.
    • Report excessive swelling to your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor about physical therapy. You may have to do exercises to help you regain shoulder and arm mobility.
  • In most cases, you can resume normal activities in six weeks.

Lifestyle Changes After Mastectomy:

  • Mastectomy is a life changing surgery. Work with your doctor will plan lifestyle changes that will aid in your recovery.
  • Light weight breast prosthesis can be work a month after surgery.
  • You can be fitted for a more permanent prosthesis after your incisions have healed.
  • Talk to your doctor about reconstruction surgery options

If you had lymph nodes removed, you take the following steps even after the recovery process:

  • No blood pressure, injections or blood draws on the affected arm
  • Avoid wearing anything tight on the affected arm.
  • Wear gloves when doing dishes, yard work, or any household scrubbing.
  • Avoid carrying anything heavy with that arm.
  • Always use an electric shaver when shaving your armpits.
  • Moisturize the skin on that arm.
  • Use sunscreen to prevent sun damage.

When to Call Your Doctor After Mastectomy:

After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills, redness or pus
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery.
  • or Nausea/vomiting which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
  • Redness, warmth, swelling, stiffness, or hardness in the arm or hand on the side of the body where the lymph nodes were removed
  • New, unexplained symptoms of any nature
  • Lumps or skin changes in remaining tissue on mastectomy side
  • Lumps, skin changes, or nipple drainage in remaining breast
  • Depression


Breast Cancer at Age 26. A Kenyan Breast Cancer Survivor Story

I am Dorcas  Njeri Njuguna from Nairobi, Kenya. I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 0 when i was 26years of age, single and with no child. It was very devastating and especially the thought of losing a breast and maybe never ever going to bear a child neither  get married.

I had never met a cancer survivor in my life and so there was no exemption that i was going to die in a short time and especially if i begun my chemotherapy. That day when the doctor told me of my diagnosis i cried the whole night, wrote my eulogy and was ready to die.

Thanks to my family and friends who were of great support during this time, because they really encouraged me, sourced information on cancer which they shared with me and I later came to accept the situation as it was. Was lucky to get treatment options from my doctor which included conservation therapy but that meant I had to travel out of the country. I underwent axillary lymph dissection two weeks after having gone through a lumpectomy.

Luckily i was oestrogen-progestron hormone receptor status negative and no metastasis. This was later followed by a liver ultrasound, bone scan and all was well.

In November 2006 I begun chemotherapy six sessions monthly followed by linear acceleration Radiation 35cycles in Aga-khan Hospital Pakistan. I believe early detection saves life. Ever since I thank God for I am cancer free. Now am a mother to a 20months old baby boy and a wife. Ever since I do breast cancer awareness campaigns every year in different towns to educate women on breast cancer. I would love to volunteer in your organization during your mission to Kenya.

Screening Mammograms: How to Teach Patients & Promote Compliance

What Is Patient Teaching about Breast Cancer Screening – Mammography?

  • Patient teaching about breast cancer screening mammography (SM)  can defined in simple terms as the process of providing helpful information to patients before, during, and after mammography. This is to increase their knowledge of the procedure and enhance their ability to cope with the procedure and related results.
    • What Patients need to know about screening mammograms:

      screening mammogramPatient teaching about Screening Mammogram involve: –

      • Teaching patients about the purpose of breast cancer screening
      • The risks involved and benefits of screening mammograms
      • How to prepare for mammography
      • What to expect during the procedure
      • Strategies for coping with the screening mammogram procedure and findings.
      • Screening mammogram is the single most effective method for early breast cancer detection because it can identify breast cancer several years before physical signs and symptoms are apparent.
      • Lack of screening mammograms and infrequent  screening mammogram are widely recognized as major factors contributing to increased breast cancer mortality
    • How to teach patients about screening mammograms:

      First time experience can be uncomfortable to many women but with correct teaching, compliance can be achieved. Teaching and motivational activities like face-to-face instruction, written materials, video presentations and pre-visit tours can be utilized to teach and support patients in learning about mammography and breast cancer screening

      • Make teaching and learning an ongoing process by using combination strategies like sending a reminder letter, providing a pamphlet about screening mammograms & discussing concerns about discomfort during mammography. This has been shown to be more beneficial than face-to-face instruction only
      • Use of informed decision-making process is important when promoting health screening such as screening mammogram. In educated population, research has shown that use of leaflets with decision aids appear to increase knowledge and participation in breast screening and have a positive impact on reducing decisional conflict.
    • Where does teaching about screening mammograms occur?

      Patient teaching about breast cancer screening mammograms typically begins in primary care, but can also be introduced at any time of clinic or hospital visit. Public education has shown to yield the best results about screening mammograms.

      • Every possible effort should be made to promote seamless delivery of patient teaching throughout the course of care and after screening mammogram.
      • Conflicting information about breast cancer screening mammograms should be avoided to reduce frustration and confusion and increase
    • Who is the best to teach about breast cancer screening mammograms:

      Patient teaching about breast cancer screening mammogram can be given by healthcare professionals like physicians and nurses and should not be delegated to assistive clinical staff or none clinical staff.

      • Research has shown that the most effective educators of women undergoing mammography are those who individualize information to specifically address their learning needs – women just like them

Breast Cancer Inspiring Video

Breast Cancer Inspirational Video

Breast Cancer Mission Trips to Kenya, Africa

Medical data from reputable organizations like World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, etc has shown that the highest mortality rates related to breast cancer is in third world countries, especially Africa.

However, other faster mass killers like Malaria and HIV has received unparalleled international attention in Africa, Thanks to organizations like Gates Foundation and others.Despite the high mortality of breast cancer and cervical cancer in Africa, cancer in general has not received the attention it deserves in Africa

While the cost of diagnosing and treating breast cancer is expensive, Cancer Free Women believes the man ion the mirror can make a positive impact in the lives of high risk African women

Looking up to The Gifted and Talented: Breast Cancer Mission Trips to Kenya, Africa.

Cancer Free Women will be conducting regular breast cancer related mission trips to Africa, starting with East African region. We appeal to medical practitioners from all over the world to volunteer in this region to: –

  • Create breast cancer awareness
  • Educate women about breast cancer and life saving Breast Self Exam (BSE) techniques.
  • Diagnose breast cancer cases and educate local clinicians, doctors and nurses how to be proactive about breast cancer
  • Train local surgeons on less invasive and potentially life saving surgical techniques
  • Create a breast cancer awareness culture in youths that can be easily reached in boarding high schools and colleges
  • Reinforce positive learning and foster continuity by offering free exchange programs. Teaching hospitals and universities willing to train African medical professionals are more than welcome.
  • Identifying opportunities that can be exploited to create breast cancer awareness and promote breast health culture

Change the World for Ever!

Saving women lives, especially in Africa is guaranteed way to change and impact the world. Majority of bread winners in Africa are women. The most important society building block in Africa is a woman. Kids eat, go to school, etc mostly because of the presence of a woman. A potential breast cancer related death affecting a mother, almost always, mean end of family.

Will You Take a Mission Trip to Kenya, Africa?

You may underestimate your impact in African women lives. If your presence saved just 1 (one) woman life, think about how many generations you’ll have impacted.

““We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston Churchill

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa

Make that change

Free Breast Cancer Screening in Kenya: Should you bank on it?

Tags: #Breastcancerscreening #Breastcancerinkenya #stage4breastcancer #selfbreastexam #cancerfreewomen

According to Daily Nation newspaper published on October 23, 2013, Mary Namata, a Ugandan lady stayed with breast lesion for 4 years before she could seek medical help. The wounds became too painful for her to live like that and it was until that point she went to seek medical help. By the time she went to the hospital, Mary was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. To be exact, Mary had stage 4 fungating breast cancer where the cancer wounds had penetrated the skin and had opened outside the breast.

In Kenya, hundreds of thousands of women tune on the news and hit on google searching for free breast cancer screening in their areas. This is a very good sign because it implies that the number of women recognizing October as breast cancer month in Kenya is increasing. It is at “creating” awareness level that we must start to control this African women slayer overshadowed by HIV/AIDS & Malaria.

But, is it wise to risk your life waiting for free breast cancer screening, mammograms? Kenya has less than 15 mammogram machines primarily in private settings, meaning, chances of actually getting a free mammogram without a sponsor are very low. Notice that Kenya has far more mammogram machines than all other East African states combined.

Here is the good news, you can start the fight against breast cancer early by doing Breast self Exam (BSE) starting age 20. To carry an effective self breast exam, this is what you should know: –

Learn how your normal breast feel and look:

The key to early detection of breast cancer is the key to survival. Success in Self Breast Exam (BSE) is dependent on knowing more about your normal and your risk factors. That way, if you detect anything abnormal, you would be able to notice it and take the necessary action…Mammogram!

To learn your normal breast, it is recommended you check your breast at least once a month in front of a mirror. You should expect to see

  • Breasts that are in usual shape, size and color. In most women, breast that are equal in size. Should you doubt any of these, get a clinician to take a look.
  • Breast that are evenly shaped without any disfigurement or distortion. No dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin.
  • Nipples that are even, well contoured without swelling, redness or inwardly inverted. Any unexpected discharge from the nipples must be reported immediately to a doctor for further evaluation.

Know the warning signs of breast cancer: Memorize them!

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or armpit(s).
  • Any wound, pimple, boil or blister occurring on your breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple or anywhere on the breast. Do not ignore Itchiness!!
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge of any colour (not milk for expectant or breast feeding mothers) that starts suddenly.  High alert if the discharge is from one breast, comes out without squeezing, is clear or bloody.
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away, or pain that cannot be related to any traumatic event.

Know your risk factors:

  • Family history of breast cancer: If anyone in your family (father or mother’s side) has breast cancer or died of breast cancer, consider yourself a high risk. This is because family lineage in Africa is poorly defined
  • Overweight or obese. Being overweight in Africa is seen as a sign of wellbeing but in actual sense, this increases breast cancer risk
  • Being female: Meaning, every woman should consider themselves as breast cancer risk factor.
  • Increase in age. The more you age, the higher the risk
  • Beginning of menstrual cycles too early, before age 12
  • Giving birth to a first child after age 35. This increases your breast cancer risk factor
  • Having never been pregnant: Women that have never been pregnant have a much higher risk of breast cancer
  • Drinking alcohol: Women that drink alcohol are at higher risk of breast cancer than those who doesn’t

Do not wait until you can get a free breast cancer screening in Africa. It may never happen and waiting could put your life and your family in danger. Remember without women in Africa, our societies would collapse. A woman is the single most important figure in our society. You are important and worth everything in the world. Be safe!

Breast Cancer Screening in Kenya: Why Wait For October?


October is now known worldwide as the breast cancer month. The world has taken this month seriously to campaign and create awareness about breast cancer. Billions of dollars are put towards breast cancer in those 30 days in October, something that has helped tame breast cancer.

However, it is heartbreaking to notice that most of us in Africa wait for October to get “free breast cancer screening” and “Free mammograms”. Looking at google keyword search terms that led visitors to our website can paint a clear picture of what most of us in Africa think about breast cancer month.

Don’t wait for October

breast cancer awarenessDon’t wait for October to get screened for breast cancer. You can wait but breast cancer does not wait. You may wait hoping to get free breast cancer screening or free mammogram and not get it. Will you wait for another year’s October to take a chance of getting free breast cancer screening?

The best way to chances of surviving breast cancer and any other cancer for that matter is staring treatment early. The earlier you start, the better the outcomes before cancer spread to other organs (metastasis)

While mammogram is the single most useful and accurate breast cancer screening tool available, learn about other free ways of detecting breast cancer like Breast Self Exam (BSE). Have regular clinician breast cancer exam (CBE) to minimize chances of breast cancer going unnoticed until damage to other organs has occurred

Stay ahead of breast cancer and don’t wait for October to get breast cancer screening. October is breast cancer awareness month, not free breast cancer screening month. Be proactive. The world cannot be what it is without you! Our societies would collapse without women. Our kids would not have a family without our women. Let’s join hands and fight breast cancer together, early enough to maximize survival.

Free Breast Cancer Screening in October. Should I Wait?

Susan Ngure, a breast cancer survivor hoping to inspire women to get screened today

Susan Ngure, a breast cancer survivor hoping to inspire women to get screened today

Susan Ngure, a now cancer free woman narrates her story how she felt a breast lump and waited for the lump to go away. She waited and waited only to later learn her lump was breast cancer. So are millions of other women in Kenya who are sitting on assumption that everything is okay.

Hundreds of thousands more women wait for November for free breast cancer screening. Well, while the month of November is breast cancer awareness month, and there are usually a number of donor programs conducting free breast cancer screening, getting a free breast cancer exam may be harder than just going to breast health facility and get checked. Furthermore, time determines how far breast cancer may have progressed

Lucky for Susan Ngure, she was in Australia when she first experienced a breast lump. She waited and waited for the lump to go away but it never happened. Susan recommends going for screening BEFORE you get a lump. You may never get breast cancer but given that 1:8 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time, better to get screened than to be too late.

Rarely do we hear many stories of breast cancer survivors who have fought the battle in Kenya and stayed in Kenya throughout until they became cancer free. These cases are there but the cost of breast cancer treatment is large enough that those who can afford full course treatment would rather go to first world where breast cancer treatment is advanced and all modes of therapies are available.

99.9% of Kenyan women cannot afford full course breast cancer treatment and this is why everyone in Kenya needs to learn breast self exam (BSE) and clinicians needs to recommend clinical breast exam (CBE) for anyone above age 40.

CDC recommends annual mammogram for every woman over age 50 and over age 30 in high risk families. Unfortunately, in Africa, it is nearly impossible to tell who comes from high risk family since those who may have died of breast cancer died undiagnosed or without getting into national breast cancer database.

Your best bet is… Get screened today. Don’t wait for October to get breast cancer screening. Don’t assume everything will be okay while you can get the truth by getting screened. Don’t wait for free breast cancer screening because it might be too late. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcomes of treatment.