What does it mean to have pain in the left breast? Is it normal to have stinging pain in the left breast? What causes burning and tingling in the left breast? Is it a serious condition to have a knife-like pain in the left breast? When should breast cancer be suspected? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.

Is pain in the left breast serious?

Pain in the left breast is a common symptom with many potential causes. Some of the reasons you may experience left breast pain are related to the breast itself, but some are independent of the breast itself. The first thing you might think of about left chest pain and breast pain may be a heart attack , but most of the time that’s not the reason. However, learning which symptoms indicate what will help you predict the cause of your pain.

What is the origin of pain in the left breast?

Pain and ache in the left breast can be caused by the breast itself or by structures near the breast. So it can be difficult to determine the cause of the pain. Also, the area where the pain is felt may not be in the same area as the problem area. For example, if the tip of your finger hurts, it’s probably related to the tip of your finger; but some nerves are not so specific, they are responsible for a general area. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine whether the problem is with the pain site or its surroundings.

Is pain in the left breast a sign of a heart attack?

Pain in the left breast is not usually related to a heart attack. Still, the first question to ask is whether such pain is a heart attack. The heart attack associated with left breast pain , especially in women , is slightly different than in men. While men have both left and right chest pain , women may have pain, tingling and burning in the left breast . A heart attack can also cause pain in the left breast and back in both men and women . Another sign of a heart attack for both sexes is pain in the left breast and left arm .

If you have the following heart attack symptoms, you should see a doctor for a suspected heart attack:

  • Stinging pain in the left breast
  • Neck pain
  • jaw pain
  • left arm pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Exude
  • Nausea
  • dizziness or fainting
  • sense of panic
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Is pain in the left breast a sign of breast cancer?

Breast cancer is usually painless in the early stages, though not always. However, if you have inflammatory breast cancer, it is possible to feel pain in the early stages. With this type of breast cancer, you usually do not feel a mass, you may experience pain in the right or left breast as the only symptom . If both of your breasts are affected, it is possible to feel the pain in both breasts.

When symptoms appear in inflammatory breast cancer, you may experience:

  • pain in the breast
  • Redness in the breast
  • Swelling in the breast

Other breast cancers that arise in the breast tissue of women are slightly more common on the left side. Therefore, if you are a woman and have breast cancer, you are more likely to experience pain and ache in the left breast . If you feel pain in the chest area in general, it’s not usually because of cancer.


The early stages of breast cancer are usually painless unless inflammatory breast cancer is present. Pain in one breast (especially on the left side) may be the first sign of this type of breast cancer. Later, you may notice redness and swelling in the left breast along with the pain.

Pain in the left breast: Breast-related causes

1. Injuries

Your breasts are a fat lined with nerves, blood vessels, connective tissues, and ducts to produce milk. A slight injury to any of these structures may cause pain in the right or left breast . If such injuries have affected the left region, stinging pain in the left breast is also likely.

Sometimes an injury to the breast can cause scar tissue. This scar tissue can cause pain, fat necrosis and deterioration of the fat tissue in the breast. All of these are usually benign cysts, not cancerous. However, a doctor’s control is required to distinguish it from cancer.

2. Breast surgery

After any breast surgery or breast aesthetics , you may feel pain in your breasts as the incisions heal . Just as after an injury, pain may appear after a while, pain may not appear immediately after surgery. The pain felt after breast surgery may tend to come and go. Apart from pain in the right or left breast from surgery, depending on the type of breast surgery you may experience:

  • Pain, burning and tingling in the right or left breast
  • Knife-like pain in the right or left breast
  • Stinging pain in the right or left arm
  • Pain like pins and needles in the right or left breast
  • Sensation of tightness in the breast and chest area
  • Pain and/or tightness in the neck and chest
  • Underarm pain on the right, left, or both

3. Milk duct problems

If you are a mother-to-be and a new mother, you may develop various problems such as an infection in your milk ducts. Problems with the milk duct generally include:

  • Abscess in the breast area:
    An abscess can cause pain, redness and a feeling of warmth in the nipple or chest area.
  • Milk duct obstruction:
    For example, if you have breast pain on the left side, the left breast is likely to hurt when touched . Likewise, the blockage can be on your right side.
  • Mastisis:
  • Masticosis is an infection in a blocked milk duct. If you have such an infection and it is on the left side, it is likely that the left breast will hurt when touched. You may feel warmth along with pain at the infection site. If the infection is in the left breast, you may also notice pain and redness in the left breast .
  • Ductal ectasia:
    Ductal ectasia is another possible type of infection related to the breast. If you have this problem, your milk ducts are enlarged above normal. The most prominent symptom of ductal ectasia is discharge from the breast of various colors.
  • Breast cysts:
    Breast cysts are usually benign, meaning they are not cancerous. Breast cysts are felt as pain and ache in many people. If you have a cyst in your left breast, you are likely to experience pain and ache in the left breast .


If you suspect a breast infection or inflammation, you should see a doctor. Because you may need various medications and antibiotics.

4. Hormonal causes

Hormone changes can also cause breast tenderness, causing pain in one or both breasts. This is especially true during the fluctuation of your menstrual cycle symptoms because your hormones are different from normal during this time period. Other hormone-related causes of pain in the left breast include:

  • birth control pills
  • Various infertility treatments
  • Various hormone treatments
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Some thyroid diseases can also cause various problems, causing pain and ache in the right or left breast. Thyroid problems that can cause breast pain include hypothyroidism and Graves’ disease .

5. Breast lumps

Breast lumps may appear at certain stages of your menstrual cycle and cause pain in the left breast . Your doctor will determine whether the lump is due to cancer or another benign cause. He will likely use various imaging procedures and a biopsy to determine this.


Breast-related causes of pain and soreness in the left breast include injuries, surgeries, problems with the milk ducts, hormonal fluctuations, and breast lumps.

Pain in the left breast: Causes not related to the breast

1. Rib cage problems

For various reasons , you may feel the pain in your rib cage as breast pain. For example, when you are anxious and stressed, you may feel pain in the chest area caused by spasm. Breast pain due to anxiety and stress can last from a few days to a few weeks.

You may also feel pain in the left breast when the cartilage between the breastbone and ribs becomes inflamed . Chest pain caused by inflammation can cause pain like a knife stabbing in the right or left breast . It is also possible to feel the pain on both sides.

The severity of pain originating from the rib cage can range from mild to severe. If your left breast is affected, it is also possible for the left breast to hurt to the touch . The pain can radiate to your stomach and back, so you may also experience stomachache and backache .

2. Esophageal problems

The esophagus is a hose-like passage that starts from your mouth to your stomach and passes under your left breast. Therefore, various problems with the esophagus can also cause pain and ache in the left breast . One common problem with the esophagus that can cause breast pain is acid reflux disease.

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If you have acid reflux, you notice a bitter liquid and taste coming from your stomach to your mouth, this is popularly known as heartburn . That bitter taste in your mouth is stomach acid; therefore, pain and burning may occur in the left breast in acid reflux disease.

3. Lung problems

The lungs are a vitally important organ located behind both of our chests that allows us to breathe. Various lung-related problems can cause pain in the chest and breast area. Lung problems that can cause pain in the left breast include:

  • Pneumonia:
    It is a serious disease that causes inflammation of the air sacs. Symptoms of pneumonia include high fever, phlegm, and pain in various parts of the chest. Pneumonia is a disease that can be treated by your doctor.
  • Pulmonary embolism: It
    is a clot that forms in one of the blood vessels leading to the lungs and is a serious disease. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath and cough. Pulmonary embolism is a disease that should be treated as soon as possible.

4. Skin problems

In some cases , pain in the left breast is felt as if it were on the outer surface of the breast. If you have such a symptom, you may be suffering from shingles. Shingles occurs when the same virus that causes chickenpox is reactivated years later. A rash is observed along with pain in the affected area. You may not know you have shingles in the early stages, as the rash appears after the pain.

5. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain anywhere in your body. If you have fibromyalgia, you are likely to experience pain in the breast and chest area. The origin of fibromyalgia pain is a malfunctioning nervous system. However, the pain felt can also affect the muscles, joints and connective tissues. If fibromyalgia has affected your left side, it is possible that the left breast hurts to the touch . Some of those affected report pain like stabbing in the left breast .


Pain or ache in the left breast can sometimes be caused by various structural problems in that area, and sometimes it can be caused by esophageal problems, fibromyalgia and shingles. If you have chest or breast pain along with shortness of breath, you are suffering from a pulmonary embolism. In such a case, you should see a doctor.

When to see a doctor for pain in the left breast?

There are many reasons for pain in the left breast , some of which are more serious than others. A doctor’s checkup is the only way to find out what triggers your pain. You should perceive breast pain as a warning sign that something is wrong with your body. Don’t ignore your pain and don’t always assume it’s harmless.

You should also not neglect to see a doctor in the following cases:

  • If the pain lasts longer than two weeks
  • If it’s only in one spot of your breast
  • If there is swelling with breast pain after the menstrual period
  • Your breasts are red and swollen
  • If there is discharge or pus coming from the nipple

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