Mondor’s disease is a benign (not cancer) rare breast condition.
Although it’s much more common in women, men can also get Mondor’s disease.
What is Mondor’s disease?
Mondor’s disease is inflammation of a vein just under the skin of the breast or chest wall. It’s also known as superficial thrombophlebitis.
It can affect any of the veins in the breast, but most commonly affects those on the outer side of the breast or under the nipple.
Most cases of Mondor’s disease have no obvious cause, but it can occur after strenuous muscular exercise, an injury to the breast, infection or breast surgery.
What are the symptoms?
Mondor’s disease looks like a long narrow cord under the skin, which can be painful to touch. The breast is likely to be tender and uncomfortable.
If the arm on the affected side is raised, causing the skin over the breast to stretch, a shallow groove can be seen over the cord, making it more noticeable.
How is it diagnosed?
Your GP (local doctor) will examine your breast and is likely to refer you to a breast clinic where you’ll be seen by specialist doctors or nurses.
A specialist at the breast clinic may be able to confirm you have Mondor’s disease after examining you.
If not, they may want you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) and/or an ultrasound scan (a scan which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the breast tissue) to make a definite diagnosis.
Find out more about the types of test you may have.
You won’t usually need treatment for Mondor’s disease as it will get better by itself.
Although the cord can take up to 12 weeks to go away altogether, the pain will usually only last for a couple of weeks. You may need to take pain relief such as an anti-inflammatory medication (either as a gel rubbed on the affected area or as a tablet).
Resting the arm and wearing a supportive bra may help to relieve the discomfort too.
What this means for you
You might feel anxious about having Mondor’s disease. Even though you may feel relieved that it’s a benign condition, you may still worry about breast cancer.
Having Mondor’s disease doesn’t increase your risk of developing breast cancer. However, it’s still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if you notice any other changes in your breasts, regardless of how soon these occur after your diagnosis of Mondor’s disease.
Content last reviewed April 2013; next planned review 2015