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Topic: clear discharge from only one duct

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Dec 28, 2011 06:55PM

skylar321 wrote:

hello ladies:) I hope everyone is having a positive holiday season:) Its been a little while since i posted anything but thought I would ask about this.....I've noticed totally clear discharge coming from only one duct in my left nipple, same breast I've had pain from for the past 11 months. I keep finding confusing info online when doing searches. Some sites will say that clear is ok, others say it's not. I'm just very confused as to if this is one more symptom of possible cancer or if it's nothing to worry about. Any advice?

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Dec 28, 2011 07:23PM cycle-path wrote:

My advice: don't worry about it, but do get it checked.

I am an Uppity Woman. Don't like my posts? Put me on IGNORE.

Dx 12/10/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Dec 28, 2011 07:46PM crystalphm wrote:

I had the same thing, when you make an appointment with your gynecologist or breast doctor, they can take a very small sample of the fluid and test it, and then you will know what the fluid is and you can let go of all worries...but it is worth seeing a doctor about...and peace of mind feel wonderful!!

wishing you the best!

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Dec 28, 2011 07:47PM lrr4993 wrote:

I hesitate to post this because I dont want to scare you, but here it goes - I had clear discharge from my cancer breast for at least a year before diagnosis. It was very infrequent and very little amount, and I too read that clear was nothing to worry about. Now, I do not know of the discharge was due to cancer or just coincidence, but it probably best to have it checked out.

Lisa

Dx 8/6/2010, IDC, Stage Ib, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 28, 2011 09:53PM FLislander wrote:

I was also told clear is ok... Get it checked! I waited a year after they told me that at gyn. I would even double check if first one says it's ok. Things are much easier early detected.

Dx 11/10/2011, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 11/20/2011 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 04/04/2012 Mastectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 05/10/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 06/25/2012 Tamoxifen
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Dec 28, 2011 10:00PM alligans wrote:

I too was in the same boat as you are in 2009.  I did my first self exam and squeezed my nipple.  Out came a drop of clear to clear/yellow discharge.  It freaked me out.  The ultrasound found a fibroadenoma (benign breast tumor) in the same area as the duct with the discharge.  Everything I've read says that fibroadenomas do not cause discharge but after my biopsy the discharge was brown (indicating blood) for about a week.  My guess is that the two are related and hopefully nothing malignant was missed.  I really keep on top of my annual breast surgeon and OBGYN exams just to be sure.

Like you, I've read everything from it's nothing to worry about to it being something serious.  The best thing that anyone can do when they have a breast or any other body part concern is to go to their doctor and give a really good symptom history.  Why you have discharge is an unknown right now.  It could be anything from hormonal issues, fibrocystic breast disease, a problem with your pituitary gland, and unfortunately it is also sometimes related to cancer.  Right now only your medical team can tell you the cause after they send you for the proper tests (mammogram and ultrasound).  Be sure to ask your doctor to run a prolactin blood test as well as the standard breast imaging.  If your prolactin comes back high it could be related to your pituitary gland but this is most likely not your case and this problem is usually associated with milk-like discharge from both breasts.  Still, make sure to get all of the necessary tests. 

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Dec 28, 2011 10:16PM skylar321 wrote:

Thank you ladies for responding so quickly:) Irr4993- did your discharge come out on it's own or when you squeezed the nipple? Mine, as far as I can tell, only comes when I squeeze it. But it for sure only comes out of one single duct & is completely clear. Not really sticky, more smooth like silky water, and is also only a small amount. I'm sure it'll be enough for my dr to get at least a minimal amount of sample though, fingers crossed. I just feel like it's one symptom after another right now...the pain, lumps that dr found this past Feb (wasn't able to get further tests done cause I didn't have insurance at the time, but will have mid January), the horrible night sweats & now the discharge. If all this ends up being cancer then I'll suck it up and do whatever I have to do to treat it. It's just been a long 11 months of constant symptoms without being able to afford to get the tests done that I need to. I actually found a brand new lump this morning...not on my breasts however. This new lump/knot is directly below my left ear behind my jaw bone. Strange place to find a lump but since all my other symptoms come from my left breast I figure this new lump/knot might also be related. Any other advice would really help a lot. I still have another 2-3 weeks before I can see my dr so I'll be thinking & worrying about this until then. Once again, thank you all very much for your help.

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Dec 28, 2011 10:26PM lrr4993 wrote:

Skylar - the only time i ever noticed the discharge was when I would get home at the end of the day and take my bra off.  Sometimes my hand would happen to brush the area and I would feel the wetnesses.  It was a very small (like single drop) amount.  It was the silky watery consitency you described.  It came out on its own, although it seems like maybe one time I squeezed it and a little bit more came out.  I have no idea if it was from a single duct - how can you tell that?  Honestly, I did nto pay much attention to it as I read it was normal.  In fact, it did not even occur to me until after diagnosis and all my treatment that maybe that was an early symptom of it.  But again, it could have had nothing to do with cancer.  I just don't know.

Any chance to get in to see your doctor earlier?  It is probably not anything that can't wait a few weeks, but for your peace of mind, it may be best to get in eariler.  I had trouble getting an appointment with my obgyn when I found my lump. I ended up asking where they would send me if they felt it was suspicious - they gave the name of a breast surgeon who did my first examination fo the lump, sent me for imaging, and eventually did my diagnosis and lumpectomy.  She was much easier to get in to see than the non-onco practitioners.

Lisa

Dx 8/6/2010, IDC, Stage Ib, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 29, 2011 12:00PM skylar321 wrote:

Hi alligans and FLislander and thank you for responding:) FLislander- are you telling me that you also had clear discharge, was told it was nothing to worry about and then a year later found out you had cancer? goodness:( Now after reading everyones responces I think my best bet will be to get a second opinion no matter what my first dr says, good or bad. Then again, when dealing with something like this that can potentional be very serious it's always a good idea to get a second opinion. Irr4993- maybe I have larger ducts than others, but when I squeeze it I can see it come out of only one little hole. Even though it has a silky water consistency it'll stay together until I wipe it off. I really wish that I was able to afford seeing the dr sooner, but I'm terrified that if I do see him before I have insurance and it turns out that it is cancer then I'll be forced to cover all medical costs on my own since it'd be a pre-exising condition. That's something that I know I wouldnt be able to afford...plus, I'll be able to get better treatment and care with the insurance. I'm still young, 31 in a couple months, and my breasts are very important to my sense of self, my sense of being a woman. In previous posts I think I've mentioned that I also have stage 4 endometriosis, which has caused me to be unable to have children...so as immature or self absorbed it may sound or make me look to others, I NEED my breasts in order to feel like a woman. I know that if tests come back cancer I'll want to have a complete mastectomy and reconstruction done asap. Cancer does run in my family, every female on my mothers side has had breast cancer or some other breast issue, so I feel it'd be safer in the long run if I just have everything removed and replaced. A procedure like that I would never be able to afford on my own without the help of insurance. Good thing about my dr's is that I can get in to see him pretty easily and he can do the u/s in-office. Hopefully I'll have some sort of preliminary answer by the end of that first appointment. I'll at least know IF there is anything there and IF the lumps are soild or fluid filled. I've been doing sooo much research over the past year I almost feel like I'll know one way or another the minute I see it on the u/s screen.

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Dec 29, 2011 12:14PM redsox wrote:

Discharge from the nipple was the symptom that led to my diagnosis.  The description that lrr4993 gave matches my experience. 

Clear discharge from one nipple is most likely to be from a papilloma or other benign condition but it can be from breast cancer.

Bloody discharge is apparently the most likely to be cancer.  Blue or green discharge is usually from an infection.  Clear or milky is usually a benign condition but can be cancer.

So get it checked.  But don't worry about waiting 2-3 weeks.  That really should not matter. 

Dx 2009, DCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 29, 2011 07:44PM FLislander wrote:

I did have clear discharge and you see how I ended up, granted I had fibrocystic breasts and thought I had cyst also... When I got to the right dr they said discharge was cancer cell slouffing off through ducts eventually duct gets clogged
All I ever had was clear discharge
just keep up with mammograms if the second says the same

Dx 11/10/2011, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 11/20/2011 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 04/04/2012 Mastectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 05/10/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 06/25/2012 Tamoxifen
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Dec 29, 2011 08:40PM skylar321 wrote:

FLislander- goodness!:( when my gyn felt the lumps, yes multiple in both breast, he told me that due to my age it was "probably" fibroids. Granted he's been my dr through the last 6 years of my endo and knows how I can react to bad news, and knowing that I also didnt have insurance at the time I'm sure wouldn't have wanted me to freak out if he told me the lumps felt more serious than that. He did make it clear that I NEEDED bloodwork and u/s done as soon as i was able to afford insurance. I dont know....I keep having the feeling that I should've done more to have been able to afford health care sooner...that maybe the wait has made things worse. Maybe it's just been a long day for me but I feel like i messed up:(

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Dec 29, 2011 08:46PM pejkug3 wrote:

Chiming in here...

Clear nipple discharge that was not spontaneous was my only indication that something was wrong in my breast.

One HOUR before my fateful mammo, a doctor (gyn) told me that due to my age (35), the discharge was likely fibrocystic or hormonal and to be sure I had a mammo when I turned 40.  If I would have listened, I would likely be dead or in a whole mess of trouble when I turned 40.  Needless to say, I will never see that doctor again.

There are programs to help uninsured women.  How old are you?  In my state, the Komen program is for women 40-64. 
Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 01/27/2011 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 02/24/2011 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 02/24/2011 HerceptinRadiation Therapy 06/28/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/01/2011 Tamoxifen
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Dec 29, 2011 10:46PM skylar321 wrote:

Pejkug3- I have looked into the free programs and assisted programs down here in south Florida and I simply don't qualify for them due to my age (31 in Feb) and income level. I was extremely disappointed when I realized that one has to be around 40 in order to get help from a lot of those programs:( also most of the free things are for mammograms and my gyn has already told me that due to my age and my breasts being so dense that mammograms won't really give us a good idea on things, that an u/s and/or MRI will be the best. I actually agree with him on that, and everything I've read supports his opinion as well. If I'm reading and understanding you diagnosis correctly, your cancer was found in the duct, did you have any lumps that you could feel?

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Dec 29, 2011 10:49PM cycle-path wrote:

skylar -- have you tried contacting Planned Parenthood? I don't believe their affiliates generally offer MRI or anything like that, but they may be able to point you in a better direction. The local affiliates usually at least have good local contacts in the medical field.

I am an Uppity Woman. Don't like my posts? Put me on IGNORE.

Dx 12/10/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Dec 30, 2011 01:19AM pejkug3 wrote:

It is very frustrating to be turned away from programs geared towards the uninsured due to your age.  I've been in those shoes this year.  Turned away because I was too young - I sure wish someone had told my cancer that. 

You read correctly, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.  But I never felt a lump.  Even when the mammo showed that it was there, I couldn't feel it.  Official pathology said that it was 0.5cm...so pretty small.

I had clear nipple discharge on only the one side, only expressed when I squeezed the nipple.  I noticed it in July 2010 and I was diagnosed in January 2011. 

It's my understanding that no one can tell a woman how dense her breasts are without some sort of screening.  Is that not correct?  My RO and the radiologist that read my screening mammo for rads said that my breasts are dense but not terribly so.  MRI may be better, but mammo is sufficient at this time.  I go for my one year follow-up tomorrow and I intend to ask about MRI again.  I did have a u/s after mammo revealed a "suspicious" area in my left breast.  That u/s lead to my diagnosis.
Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 01/27/2011 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 02/24/2011 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 02/24/2011 HerceptinRadiation Therapy 06/28/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/01/2011 Tamoxifen
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Dec 30, 2011 09:59AM skylar321 wrote:

pejkug3- Mine is the same way, only comes from one nipple and only comes out when squeezed. I noticed it first about 4-5 months ago....but most research I found online said that clear is one of the "safer" colors. Good thing I finally asked on here. I guess my gyn said that my breasts were dense cause of their size and maybe he was just able to feel them as "more held together" by the natural tissue....now thinking about it...I really dont know. Wow, I never even thought about HOW he knew mine were dense. This morning I keep having the thought that last year days before my 30th birthday I found out I had lumps in both breasts that needed to be checked out, and in a couple months when I turn 31 I might be told I have cancer:( I just never thought I would have to deal with things like this at this stage in my life. Sad morning I guess.

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Dec 30, 2011 10:08AM pejkug3 wrote:

Don't claim those feelings yet, Skylar.  The odds are on your side that the discharge is caused by a benign condition.

Younger women typically have denser breast tissue as a general statement.  But exactly how dense cannot be marked without imaging.  At least that is my understanding of it - someone correct me if I'm wrong.

I would not let this go.  Do what you can to get into mammo.
Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 01/27/2011 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 02/24/2011 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 02/24/2011 HerceptinRadiation Therapy 06/28/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/01/2011 Tamoxifen
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Dec 30, 2011 01:59PM skylar321 wrote:

I'm not resigning to the thoughts that I 100% have cancer...I think I'm more upset and disappointed in myself for waiting a year before getting insurance. I'm a smarter person than that and really feel like I should've found some way to afford it sooner. Money has been extreemly tight for me however, and there just wasnt a way for me to come up with all the extra money I need. The insurance plan I'm getting is through United healthcare (whome I've had before and LOVE), but the monthly will be about $350, plus I'll have a $1,500  out of pocket deductable to hit before the insurance will take over 100%. It's a GREAT plan, especially when I think about all the tests, bloodwork, and possible procedures I have in my near future. The only issue was coming up with the $1500 to get started. After everything that the ladies have expressed through this thread, I now fully and completely understand that this is something that I simply cant let go any longer than I 100% have to. I think I've just been beating myself up a bit today...to be perfectly honest and open up a bit (which is very hard for me...opening up, not the being honest;) ), I have a bunch of other very stressful things going on in my personal life at the moment. Things with my fiance are and have been horrible for months and I dont see things getting any better any time soon. Due to the bad economy he and I currently live with his mother to help her with bills and she and I just dont get along very well, which in turn makes my home life VERY stressful and adds A LOT of unneeded stress in my relationship. He is the classic Italian "momma's boy", and I will always be forced to take second seat next to her, her wants and needs. He knows how I feel about the situation but refuses to move out, keep in mind, I'm 30 and he's 34! If it turns out that I have yet another health issue on my plate I feel like the best thing I can do for my health will be to end the relationship and move. I know that stress is one of the worst things for cancer, and I feel like if I stay in a situation like this that is sooo overwhelmingly stressful it'll end up killing me:( 

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Jan 1, 2012 07:10PM, edited Jan 1, 2012 07:19PM by Lisa75

Skylar321, well here is my story:

I had discharge from my left breast starting about Aug 2010. The 1st few times I thought it was water spots from after washing hands or dishes in the kitchen. One day I was hunched over writing something down and saw a huge wet spot near my nipple area on my shirt.
I kept an eye on it, and noticed it happened near my cycle mostly..and only when I had a t-shirt on with no bra. I felt for lumps, but nothing. whew.

Nov 2010 - fluid tested for bacteria, none found. mastecomy/sonogram clear so the dr advised it was just hormonal. Every month I had this leak, but it was normal color as breast milk...so I didn't worry.

Nov 2011 - the lactation had blood in it. I was scared. I changed Dr's and the new Dr thought it might be a pituitary gland tumor since I had no family BC history. No Bacteria found in the fluid, mammo was fine, sonogram had a shadowy area but the dr thought it was just due to having dense breasts. She suggested a biopsy for caution. Well, turned out to be DCIS stage 0, grade 2.
I havent had the lumpectomy yet (waiting on my work time off to roll over for this year)..but Ive been researching ever since.


 I hope yours is all clear..

37, 3/1/2012 Uni MX w/direct implant. 2 nodes removed

Dx 12/12/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jan 1, 2012 08:04PM Ceeztheday wrote:

Skylar- I am very glad that you will have insurance soon and can get the fluid tested. Here is my story ... My DCIS was found because I had a discharge. There was never a lump and nothing showed on the mammo. The discharge was clear to yellow, was in one breast (left). It was always from the same duct. It came out when squeezed. I had read online that only a small percentage of discharges were cancer, so I did not go right away. When I went for my annual checkup, the GYN had the fluid tested and it had cancer cells. Fortunately, my condtition was only DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ)- not spread outside the duct, but I had to have two surgeries to get clear margins (lumpectomies, not mastectomies). I also had to do 35 radiation treatments as a precaution. I am taking tamoxifen for five years, also as a precaution. I don't mean to scare you, but I am glad that you will be able to get it tested this month. It is likely nothing, but if it turns out to be something, you will feel better taking action and getting better. Feel free to message me if you have questions. Hugs.

Dx 6/28/11,  DCIS, discovered through nipple discharge, duct removed 7/8/11, lumpectomy 7/22/11, Tamox 8/4/11, rads 9/1/11 (27 reg/8 boosts).  Onward & Upward...

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Jan 2, 2012 09:22AM skylar321 wrote:

Lisa75 & Ceeztheday- thank you for responding & sharing your stories. With my job (work at a law firm here in south FL) I only get paid once a month on the 15th so as soon as I receive this months check I'm calling to set up & pay for my health insurance. I'll also call my GYN that day to schedule the appointment. Since it's about a month before my normal annual I'll probably just have that done while I'm there as well. Last year he told me that as soon as I have insurance I NEED to have bloodwork done & an ultrasound, so I'll stay on top of him about getting everything scheduled right then and there. I've already waited much longer than I should have. I'm still hoping that I'm just freaking out & overly worrying about something that is b9...but I won't feel completely comfortable until I have everything done to 100% rule out cancer & any other possibly serious condition.
I keep telling myself that no matter what the tests come back saying, that I'm a strong woman and can & most importantly WILL make it though anything this world throws at me....with my fiancé by my side or not. Strangely enough, the issues with him seem to upset me more than the possible threat of cancer. I've spent the past 6 years with him, thought that he'd be by my side through everything and anything....now I'm seeing and realizing that IF this is cancer, if this is something serious at all,



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Jan 2, 2012 09:30AM skylar321 wrote:

Didn't mean for that to send....but to continue... That I'll end up going through all of it completely alone. It hurts me so much thinking that. I would literally walk through fire, walk through Hell and back for him....but the only woman he'd honestly do that for is his damn mother. It's made me bitter.
Does anyone have any questions/tests that they wish they had asked or had done in the beginning stages? I want to go in & have everything prepared for him. I want to make sure I stay an active part in my health care plan. Thank you & I hope everyone had a great new years yesterday!:)

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Jan 2, 2012 12:16PM carol57 wrote:

Skylar,  Your worries are valid and they will keep you moving in the right direction--find out what's going on and then either the worries are eased, or you learn you have something specific and you can map out a plan to deal with it. 

Having said that, I can tell you that I had a similar discharge starting when I was 21 years old. I had tests similar to what others mention here, over the years, and they were always negative for anything concerning.  I am now 57 and had prophylactic bilateral mastectomy last summer, for reasons that had nothing to do with that old, familiar discharge. So, let your worry prompt you to action on getting the discharge investigated and taking care of yourself as you outline, but don't jump to premature conclusions that it necessarily means cancer.

As for your fiance, well...I hope you're having frank discussions with him about what's going on in his heart and mind. I fervently hope your symptoms turn out to be harmless, and that you can view this episode as an opportunity to glimpse the future with this guy --life will throw health 'stuff' your way sooner or later as you age-- so you can decide if this guy should be YOUR guy!

Best wishes to you, and I'm sure others will drop in here to answer your question about questions and tests.

Carol

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Nov 24, 2012 09:43PM sher101 wrote:

im a little worried now....just recently i woke up with a sore left breast i couldn't even touch the nipple! so later that day, i decided to squeeze the nipple, just to see i guess. Well this thick sticky yellow discharge came out, followed by clear yellow discharge. It hasn't happened again after that, but a few days later i got my period so i don't know if that was why? also the discharge had a  blood stain, That has never happened before! I am 27, my doc booked me in for an appt for a mammogram.

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Nov 25, 2012 09:23AM carol57 wrote:

sher101, it is great that you are getting that mammogram. As you wait, just keep in mind that what you experienced can have causes besides breast cancer. For example, a simple papilloma (like a very firm internal pimple) can aggravate the area and cause a discharge and bleeding; I had that, and it was benign.  Good luck to you!

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Dec 13, 2012 11:06PM sher101 wrote:

thanks for responding, didn't hear from the mammo and ultrasound yet, is that good news? also my nipple stings a bit and i am having the clear yellow discharge more frequently!

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Dec 14, 2012 11:40AM carol57 wrote:

Can you call in to ask for your mammo/US results?  We always speculate to the dark side of things, so the best course of action is to get your results.  If it has been more than a few days since your imaging, I would think that's good news, but someone still owes you an explanation of what's causing the discharge, especially if you now have some discomfort with it.