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Breast Cancer

Lumps under arms

02/28/2008

Question:

I am 29 years old, and a month ago I found a lump under my right arm. Two days later I found one under my left arm. They both started off small, then got big, hard, and were sore at times. I went to the doctor and he said they are boils and gave me antibiotics for them. He said they would come to a head and I could push the puss out when they did. They never came to a head, they slowly went away. A week later I got another one under the right arm, he said the same thing. Should I be worried that it may be something else? Also, what do I do to stop them from coming back? Is it something I`m eating, doing, or wearing?

Answer:

Your description is most consistent with recurrent infections in hair-bearing skin called Hidradenitis Supprativa.  These infections are usually treated with antibiotics and drainage of the pus as your doctor explained.  Occasionally, patients have so many infections that they need to stay on long term (low dose) antibiotics (for months or years).  Rarely, the infections are such a problem that all of the hair-bearing skin is removed surgically and the area covered with skin grafts. 

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Response by:

Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University