You Woke With A Red, Hot, Swollen Breast?

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You Woke With A Red, Hot, Swollen Breast?

If you have awoken with a red, hot, swollen breast, get yourself to your doctor without delay.  Without wishing to alarm you, this could be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer (“IBC”), which is very unlike other forms of breast cancer where a specific lump can be felt.  It could also be a simple breast infection, but after you have read this article, hopefully you will know the difference.

Symptoms of IBC

This list of symptoms comes directly from the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation (more appears about them below) and may include one or more of the following:

  • The breast may appear to be discolored – red, purple, pink or bruised in appearance
  • The breast may have a dimpled skin texture, like that of an orange peel
  • The breast may feel warm or hot to the touch
  • The breast may be tender, enlarged or fairly firm
  • The nipple may be flattened or retracted or mis-shapen, the skin of nipple could also be swollen or crusted, and there may be a change of color of the skin around the nipple (the areola)
  • There may be shooting pains or a sort of stabbing pain within the affected breast
  • The breast may be itchy and you can’t relieve it with creams or salves
  • There may be thickened areas of breast tissue
  • There might be a hardened area in the breast which feels more like a pencil lead than a lump
  • Lymph nodes under the arm may be enlarged, as well as above and/or below the collarbone

Complicating Factors…

The biggest problem with IBC is that it can be elusive to diagnose.  You can’t see IBC on a mammogram, and many physicians are not trained to deal with it or even recognize it.

For quite some time, it has been considered a particularly bad form of breast cancer – mainly because of delays in diagnosis, lack of expertise of physicians, and its resistance to the standard chemotherapy drugs used for other forms of breast cancer.

Don’t panic though – I am increasingly coming into contact with women who are long term survivors of IBC, so get yourself educated about it.  There are lots of things you can do to heal from IBC.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation – An Excellent Resource

Fortunately, there is a fantastic resource for anyone who has IBC or wants to know more about it.  The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation came together in 2006 to address the growing need to inform physicians and patients about this particular form of breast cancer, because it is so very different.  Here is a link to their excellent website.

There are also some excellent You Tube videos put together by Dr Naoto Ueno, Executive Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr Ueno is also a Medical Advisor to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation:

Learn Inflammatory Breast Cancer From the Expert, Part 1

Learn Inflammatory Breast Cancer From The Expert, Part 2

Learn Inflammatory Breast Cancer From The Expert, Part 3

You might also like to know that diet makes a difference in this sort of breast cancer – see my article  The Best Diet Against Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

I sincerely hope that this information helps you and if I can assist you further, please contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

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26 thoughts on “You Woke With A Red, Hot, Swollen Breast?

  1. Woke up with my breast worse than the night before. Red swollen and painful. I have lump in each breast but my gyno told me the first one was from sweat glands. This seems different. Fingers crossed because I can’t make an appointment until Tuesday.

    1. Hi Misty,
      Thanks for your message, I can certainly understand your distress! Waiting for the results of appointments is just possibly the worst thing about this journey. I wanted to offer you a little assistance by way of a guided meditation that you can download from my webpage:
      If you are not used to doing meditation, it’s a good starting place. Meditation can help so very much with the anxiety and distress we have to endure, it gives our ultra-busy minds something else to focus on – and don’t believe for a minute that the white light you are bringing into your body is imaginary. It’s very real and it has very real healing qualities.
      I would highly recommend that you sign up for my free e-books and newsletters (you can do that on the right side of the above webpage) because even if you do not have breast cancer, they are full of information on how to avoid it and keep yourself well. If it turns out that you do have it, please know that I am here for you, that I will do my utmost to give you good information and research on holistic things you can do to help yourself get through this.
      Please let me know how I can best assist you.
      Warmest regards,

  2. I woke this morning with a swollen hot left breast. Both of my breasts have been hurting over the past 2 weeks (like when your pregnant, but im not) & today my left breast is more tender than before. Im seeing my Dr tomorrow, but I dont know how IBC can be diagnosed if my Dr does not consider I may have it. What tests are there to confirm if I have it or not?

    1. Dear Annette,
      You are right to be concerned and I’m glad you have a doctor appointment. IBC can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor will most likely order a diagnostic mammogram but the swelling and tenderness can make a diagnosis difficult. It might also not show anything. An ultrasound will most likely be ordered as well, which can help to see if there are enlarged lymph nodes or masses present in the breast(s). Sometimes MRIs are used to look for abnormalities. No doubt a biopsy will be ordered so that tissue can be examined under a microscope. All of these things take time and can be scary as hell. My advice is to try to stay calm, learn meditation, and begin juicing fresh vegetables and some small amount of fruit to help stop the inflammatory process. This website might also be helpful:
      I hope that helps you today, Annette, and if I can help further, please let me know.
      Warmest regards (and best of luck to you),

    1. Dear Joy,
      Go and get yourself checked out by a doctor. Please don’t put this off. If I can assist with advice or information, please let me know.
      Warmest regards,

      1. Hi I woke up yesterdaywith a big knot in my right breast red on the out side when I lay down you can see the lump it’s pretty big. .I’m freaking out really scarred and it’s painful. .

        1. Kimberly, I apologize for the delay in responding to you. Somehow I missed this message and I’m sorry. If you haven’t already, go see a doctor and get yourself checked out. If I can help you, let me know.
          Warmest regards,
          Marnie Clark

  3. I started noticing that my left breast was sore last night when I tried to go to sleep. It’s almost unbearable now. A piercing kind of burning feeling right around the bottom of my nipple. It is definitely warm to the touch in that area and it seems like my nipple has remained hard throughout the pain. I also feel a hard area around the bottom where the pain is centered. I am prone to abcesses’ (cysts). Could it just be that I have gotten one in this very uncomfortable place under my skin? Please help. I am so scared.

    1. Jennifer,
      Go and see your doctor and get yourself checked out without delay. It may not be anything to worry about, but you need to have it checked out by an expert.
      Warmest regards,

    2. I am expierencing the same thing! I was wondering if you had gone to the doctors and what was their response?

  4. Hi I’m 14 and I woke up this morning and my right nipple was tender an swollen and red. I am on my period and I don’t things it’s cancer because I’m so young. Does anyone know what it could be?

    1. Hi Megan,
      You might have a simple infection – those are the classic signs of infection. Please let your mother know about it, you might need a quick trip to the doctor to have it checked out. I doubt whether it’s cancer, my dear, but do keep a close eye on it and let your mother know about it.
      Sending hugs,

  5. Saturday I started filling a burning sensation in my left breast above the nipple, it hurts to touch. I don’t see any discoloration or fill any lumps fars I know.I don’t know if I strained from lifting or over doing it. I’m worried

  6. I have a small red hot spot on my left Breast hurts to lay on my tummy. Been sore for 4 days strange feeling. Now I have 2 lumps under right arm pit. Hurts when I wore bra to day. I’m a Assistant Manager at BCF manager away have no one to step up to take time off. Left Breast has a burning sensation.. I have booked to see doctor in a weeks time

  7. I had a nipple sparing double mastectomy with reconstruction in 2016 and have recovered very well. I awoke this morning to a very uncomfortable “irritated” right nipple. (This was the cancerous breast.) My bra touching the skin is even uncomfortable. I noticed that the breast feels hot to the touch like a fever would. Thoughts?

    1. Shannon,
      I will contact you via email. It does sound like the affected nipple is infected though. I hope that in the interim you will have seen your physician to have this checked out.
      Warmest regards,

  8. I go to the doctor on the 26th. I’ve had problems with my breasts have lumps and they always come back good. I noticed a week ago one breast is larger that the other and this has never been the case before. I have some pain in them but not unbearable. Today I noticed heat in left breast. The larger one. So I made a appt. I’m nervous but like I said not my first rodeo. But I’m on here because I’m letting it get the best of me tonight. Thinking of the what ifs. Anyways I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable but I’m asking for prayers, well wishes, and good vibes. Thank you all.

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing! If I can help you though, don’t hesitate to ask. Sending prayers and well wishes your way, as I’m sure will everyone who reads this post.
      Warmest regards,

  9. I have lymphoma and being treated with chemo, right breast hot and feels big, on antibiotics, it feels like mastitis when I was pregnant. Feeling scared.

    1. Diana,
      I can certainly appreciate your apprehension. Go see a doctor and get yourself checked out immediately. It could be a simple infection but you need to know what you’re dealing with. Best of luck and let me know how you get on.
      Warmest regards,
      Marnie Clark

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