Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties

137 Doctors Online
Doctor Image
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

I will be looking into your question and guiding you through the process. Please write your question below.

Can mammogram cause breast cancer?

Answered by
Dr. S Patra


Practicing since :2011

Answered : 4047 Questions

Posted on Thu, 31 Jan 2013 in Women's Health
Question: During a mammogram, the lab technician usually tries to cover areas under the armpits. Can breast cancer develop starting the armpits? Or it just spreads to lymph nodes there? What I am asking is, if cancer is detected in the armpits, it should be in the main breasts already. What is the significance for a mammo to cover the armpit area?
Answered by Dr. S Patra 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

Mammography is low-energy X-rays to examine breast and used as a diagnostic & screening tool for early detection of breast cancer. Characteristic findings are micro calcification and masses. As breast cancer is the most common and leading cancer in women,mammography is done to every women above 40 yrs age for screening purpose.

My comments are as follows according to your query:
1)Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. It never start from armpits and direction of spreading is from breast to axilla or armpit.
2)Breast cancer spreads through body lymphatic system. Cancer cells enter lymphatic vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes. Most lymph vessels of the breast finally join to Axillary Lymph Nodes (A group of lymph node under the arm/ armpit). These lymph nodes are linked up with other body lymphatics.
3)If axillary lymph nodes are enlarged or palpable on examination,then it suggests that cancer cells (originated from breast) have entered the blood stream and there is higher chance of spreading to other system/ organs.
4)In Mediolateral-oblique (MLO) view,imaging technique covers main area of breast and tissue of armpit. It is mandatory to cover armpit area to know the extent of spreading of breast cancer cells to axillary lymph node.

Please consult with radiologist or surgeon regarding this to get a proper guideline and treatment.

Practice self breast examination (SBE) after periods get over in every cycle.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help.

Wish your good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Mohammed Kappan

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions ,  
Lab Tests
Medical Topics ,  

Recent questions on  Lymphatic system

doctor1 MD

I am a 22 year old female with chronic swollen lymph nodes only on my left side,which then leads to ear pain and jaw pain. I had my tonsils taken out a little over two years ago because of chronic tonsillitis. I had blood work and the only thing that came up was that my liver enzymes were really high, they were 250. I had tests done on my live and everything came back to normal. Could my liver an lymph nodes be linked?

doctor1 MD

I'm 2 years out of lymphoma. My last ct scan (1month ago) was ok except spleen enlargement 4cm. Doc said not to worry. I had a lymphatic massage shortly after. Since then I've been having pain in original tumor site (media stienum) and tingling sesations all over body, also my spine has been hurting also.

doctor1 MD

Hi. A close male relative has been diagnosed with NHL. General health was very good apart from a fairly minor stroke six months ago and aortic aneurism surgery six years ago. He is 81 years old and symptoms include weight loss, lack of appetite, fever, night sweats, rigors, bladder infection. Has been taking steroids for five days and will continue until strong enough for chemotherapy. Lymph nodes swollen in abdomen, neck, and underarms. Neck node excision confirmed NHL. Any evaluation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

doctor1 MD

I hurt my neck at work. After a month of physical therapy, and not getting better, my doctor ordered an MRI. The MRI showed that I have a 9mm lymph node in level 2 of my posterior neck. I also have a small lymph node at level 5. The one at level 2 is bilateral. I am 29 and have not been sick or around anyone that has been.

doctor1 MD

I have had hard swollen lymphnodes for over 5 years now. I have had them biopsied before and all was negative. i have 4 in my check all 2 cms and one 3.5cms. I also have about 6 on each side of my groin, and a few in my armpits. No doctor knows...

doctor1 MD

I am having a strange issue. First off I am an off and on iv drug user of methamphetamine . And a little background I'm 30 y/o and have no known illnesses except hsv1 and heterozygous factor v Leiden . I take prescribed med clonazepam as needed no...

doctor1 MD

My mother is almost 90. She had surgery on her foot. But, in the last two weeks she gained over twenty pounds of, we think, water, what should we do?