Just like vascular system, lymphatic system plays an important role in the body. It is considered to be a part of the immune system and essentially helps the body to fight infection and cancer cells. The lymphatic system is made up of tiny vessels that drain the lymph fluid into the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are tiny bean shaped structures which filter and remove the dead bacteria, tissues and abnormal cells from the lymph fluid; in this process of removing harmful agents, it gets swollen. Swollen lymph node in breast is also due to these factors, infection or cancer (benign or malignant).
The tail of the breast leads into the armpit. The armpit has many lymph glands, the lymph fluid from the breast tissue drains into these lymph nodes. Any problem related to breast can give rise to swollen glands in breast. Lymph glands in armpits and breast are important in cancer care and determination of the stage of breast cancer. This is because the cancer cells are carried by the lymph to the nearest lymph gland when it is broken away from the tumor. If a person has breast cancer, but if there are no cancer cells in any of the nearest lymph glands, there is less likelihood of cancer spread. That is the reason doctor’s always examine the lymph glands when he suspects cancer and during the treatment and prognosis.
Swollen Lymph Node in Breast Symptoms
It is important to know of symptoms related to swollen lymph nodes in the breast, because there are many different conditions in the breast that can be differentiated by them. Classic example of swollen lymph gland in the breast and/or the armpit is breast cancer. Following are the symptoms:
- Swelling in the breast.
- Glandular swelling in the armpit.
- Blood discharge from the nipple.
- Nipple gets inverted and retracted.
- Skin of the nipple is pitted.
- Pain and tender breast.
- Pain and tenderness felt on the lymph glands in the armpit.
- Stony hard lymph nodes.
- Night sweats
- Weight loss.
Treatment for Swollen Lymph Node in Breast
As swollen lymph node in the breast is the symptom of the underlying condition such breast abscess, or benign or malignant cancer. Treatment is planned to cure the condition, the lymph nodes will eventually recede to its normal size once the underlying disease is cured.
- To relive the pain caused due to swollen lymph node in the breast, apply warm water compresses. All you have to do is dip clean cloth in warm water and apply it on the swollen lymph node.
- Swollen lymph node in the breast due to cancer may require treatment for cancer. It will depend on the type of cancer such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or surgery.
- A breast abscess requires warm fomentation so that the pus liquefies and gets easily drained out.
- Licorices, Echinacea, wild indigo are used to boost the immunity. They also improve the flow in the swollen glands.