For evaluation of a new breast lump or changes in your breast, you're likely to start by seeing your primary health care provider. In some cases, based on a clinical breast exam or findings on the mammogram or ultrasound, you may be referred to a breast health specialist.
What you can do
The initial evaluation focuses on your medical history and the signs and symptoms you're experiencing, including how they're related to your menstrual cycle. To prepare for this discussion with your doctor:
- Take note of all your symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Review key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you regularly take.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor, listing questions from most important to least important, so you're sure to cover the topics that matter most to you.
For mammary duct ectasia, here are some questions you might ask your doctor:
- What's causing my symptoms?
- Will this condition resolve itself, or will I need treatment?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- Is there an over-the-counter medication I can take for pain relief?
- What self-care measures can I try?
- Do you have printed information I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask you a number of questions, such as:
May 01, 2015
- How long have you experienced symptoms?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- Do you experience breast pain? How severe?
- Do you have nipple discharge? How would you describe the color, consistency and amount?
- Do your symptoms occur in one or both breasts?
- Have you had a fever?
- When was your last mammogram?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a precancerous breast condition?
- Have you ever had a breast biopsy or been diagnosed with a benign breast condition?
- Has your mother, a sister or anyone else in your family had breast cancer?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Rosai J. Breast. In: Rosai and Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 5, 2015.
- Onstad M, et al. Benign breast disorders. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2013;3:459.
- Noncancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/womenshealth/non-cancerousbreastconditions/non-cancerous-breast-conditions-duct-ectasia. Accessed Feb. 5, 2015.
- Dabbs DJ. Reactive and inflammatory conditions of the breast. In: Breast Pathology. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 5, 2015.
- Diagnosis of breast disease. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI); 2012. https://www.icsi.org/_asset/v9l91q/DxBrDis.pdf. Accessed Feb. 5, 2015.
- Huttunen R, et al. Smoking and the outcome of infection. Journal of Internal Medicine. 2011;3:258. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02332.x/asset/j.1365-2796.2010.02332.x.pdf;jsessionid=7E1BAE92F9DEA056669010BBC8721234.f03t01?v=1&t=i6ify7dg&s=582ed53a179e537e7c6ffffad0230dc4cbc1d013. Accessed Feb. 5, 2015.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 7, 2015.