Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor diagnoses mastitis based on a physical exam, taking into account signs and symptoms of fever, chills and a painful area in the breast. Another clear sign is a wedge-shaped area on the breast that points toward the nipple and is tender to the touch. As part of the exam, your doctor will make sure you don't have a breast abscess — a complication that can occur when mastitis isn't treated promptly.

A rare form of breast cancer — inflammatory breast cancer — also can cause redness and swelling that could initially be confused with mastitis. Your doctor may recommend a diagnostic mammogram, and you may need a biopsy to make sure you don't have breast cancer.

Jul. 18, 2012