Type of disease: Rare conditions
Mondor’s disease is a benign (not cancerous) breast disease that is caused by inflammation of a vein under the skin of the breast. While this condition can affect any vein in the breast, the most common veins affected are ones on the outer side of the breast or under the nipple. The inflamed vein usually looks like a long, red cord and can be painful to touch. Over time, the vein can become a painless band-like structure. It may become more noticeable when the arm on the affected side of the body is lifted. Patients may also have swelling, redness, and a tender lump on the area of the breast that is affected.
Often, there is not a specific cause for Mondor’s disease, but some possible causes include trauma, surgery, and infection, in addition to difficult exercise, breast injury, and wearing a very tight bra. Breast surgery or biopsy (taking tissue from the breast) can also cause Mondor’s disease. Women are three times as likely to get Mondor’s disease as men, and the condition usually occurs in patients ages 30-60 years old.
A breast specialist can diagnose Mondor’s disease through a breast exam, mammogram (breast x-ray), or ultrasound scan (scan that uses sound waves to produce an image of the breast). Usually, treatment is not needed for this condition, and it will get better on its own. Often it improves within a couple of weeks, but the cord takes a few months to go away. In order to reduce pain, patients can take anti-inflammatory medications, rest the arm on the affected side, and wear bras that fit well.
If you have Mondor’s disease, it is important that you check in with your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts after being diagnosed with the condition.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with this condition, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.