1. What is Mondor’s disease?
Mondor’s disease is a rare, benign (not cancer) breast condition.
It’s caused by inflammation of a vein (thrombophlebitis) just under the skin of the breast or chest wall. This usually looks like a narrow cord just under the skin below the breast, which may feel like a piece of string under the skin.
It can affect any of the veins in the breast, but most commonly affects those on the surface of the lower outer side of the breast.
Mondor’s disease does not cause breast cancer. But it’s still important to get any new changes in your breasts checked.
It can affect women of any age. Mondor’s disease can also affect men, but this is rare.
Causes of Mondor’s disease
Often the of Mondor’s disease are unclear. However, it can be caused by:
- Vigorous exercise
- An injury to the breast
- of the breast
- Breast surgery, including breast reconstruction
- Wearing a very tight bra
Mondor’s disease can happen in the armpit after breast cancer surgery. When this happens, it’s known as cording or axillary web syndrome.
Mondor’s disease can sometimes happen in the arm following chemotherapy, but this is much less common.
3. Symptoms of Mondor’s disease?
Common symptoms of Mondor’s disease may include:
- A narrow cord under the skin that might be more visible when raising your arms over your head
- Pain or tenderness in the area affected on the breast
- The skin looking pulled in (indentation)
Mammogram and breast ultrasound
If you have symptoms of Mondor’s disease, see your GP. You’ll be referred to a breast clinic, where you’ll be examined by a doctor or specialist nurse.
If you’ve had a diagnosis of breast cancer previously, you may be able to contact your treatment team to have your symptoms assessed.
The specialist at the breast clinic may be able to confirm you have Mondor’s disease after examining you.
Mondor’s disease may also be diagnosed using a range of tests. These may include:
- A mammogram (breast x-ray)
Symptoms of Mondor’s disease usually get better by themselves.
You may be offered treatment for symptoms such as pain or tenderness. Pain usually lasts between 4 and 6 weeks.
You may need to take regular pain relief. This could be as a tablet or a gel or cream applied to the skin.
If taking simple pain relief does not control your symptoms, let your GP or breast team know.
Wearing a well-fitting bra may also help to relieve any discomfort.
Mondor’s disease can come back in some people. If your symptoms return, it’s important to go back to your GP to be assessed.
6. Can Mondor’s disease increase the risk of breast cancer?
Having Mondor’s disease does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
It’s important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if you notice any changes in your breasts, no matter how soon you notice them after your diagnosis of Mondor’s disease.
7. Further support
If you have any questions or concerns about Mondor’s disease, our specialist team is ready to listen on our free helpline. See below for ways to get in touch.