Breast TB in Women; I fell victim of this rare disease & I broke my silence to educate others!

Nabila Abbas
Posted October 6, 2019 from Pakistan
Primary diagnosis of Breast TB
Primary diagnosis of Breast TB (1/2)

" I nearly fell into trauma when I first heard ; I would have to go through a minor surgery because of breast TB lump. I could remember myself shivering with fear while entering operation theater.  I didn't know what was happening with me. I could only remember having a discharging lump on my breast.  Vibes of severe pain and hopelessness. And, my mother, holding my hand with strong affectionate, whispering into my ear; everything that troubles you, lets face that, don't run away!"  


                                                                    (A Positive Message before starting the article) 

" TB is curable. Don't hate or hesitate with TB patients. Lets embrace a global care for TB Patients. Lets spread awareness. Lets fight TB, together!. "


We all are well familiar with the diseased term ; Tuberculosis (TB) which is most common disease in Pakistan and India. Pakistan, with an estimated 510 000 new TB cases emerging each year and approximately 15 000 developing drug resistant TB cases every year, is ranked fifth among B high-burden countries worldwide and it accounts for 61% of the TB burden in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.Today, i will be talking something beyond common types of TB like the very common of lungs/chest TB. This one is rare called BREAST TB.I would like to share my personal experience being an active patient of breast TB for the last 6 months. 

What is Breast TB?

.Mammary (breast) tuberculosis is a rare manifestation of extra-pulmonary localization of the disease which accounts for less than 0.1% of breast conditions in developed countries, but reaches 3–4% in regions where the disease presents with high incidence (India, Africa). It appears mostly in women of reproductive age, multifarious, lactating. It has been scarcely reported to infect male patients, mainly before puberty, as well as women of older age. The most common presentation is that of a tumor in the middle or upper-outer quadrant of the breast, with multi focal involvement being rarely documented. The differential diagnosis includes breast cancer and abscess formation.

How actually it feels?

A person with this disease may feel and visualize a severe swelling in her breast. The victim would have "cold abscess" or sometimes even " sinuses" on the breast. In most cases ( like mine too) sometimes cold sinuses are inflammatory and even " yellowish pus" breaks out of the nipple of the breast.

What to do?

As sooner as you may suspect anything like this on your breast; worry not, as it is not always the symptoms of breast cancer. It can be breast TB. You quickly need to consult doctor and have your TB test (which is called as Mantoux test) at first priority. For other TB Categories mostly you need to have blood test or pus sample. For breast TB, you need to take sample of your infectious area.

Why most of the doctors itself can't understand breast TB?

I came experiencing that most of the doctors itself can't understand the cases of breast TB because of two reasons i-e; firstly, breast TB is a rare and uncommon disease and its more cases and emergence is observed in India mostly. Secondly, anything infectious on your breast mis leads doctors towards the very first and trendy impression of having breast cancer?. The reasons are quite natural and  unblamed because of less awareness and knowledge ,especially about breast TB.

Is breast TB curable?

Yes! like other types of TB, breast TB can also be cured with the medical (antibiotics) course of lengthening 6-9 months. After you get confirmed having breast TB, your consultant hospital TB Ward will issue your active TB patient card and you can have your medicine doses with accordance to your weight. Like my weight is around 41 KG so i have to take 3 doses of the same antibiotics every (early) morning, empty stomach. Which meaning you have to take medicines before eating anything. And your doses will increase as per your weight may increase.  You can consult weight charts. 

Before starting your TB medication Course, you need to have a minor surgery/operate of your breast;

If your infection/lump/sinuses or that cold abscess are discharging yellow puss and it is stinging everyday; you must have to get removed off your infectious area from the root via minor operate or surgery. The operation will be of no more than hardly 20-25 minutes in conscious state while the target area will be "stupor" which is a state where the body part becomes "insensibility" . It is necessary to have it done before you start your TB Antibiotics. TB Infectious area shouldn't be discharging while your taking medicines. If it does; then you need to consult the doctor I got my surgery for the three times during the medication course and one after the medication course completion. It's observed that TB breast lump can occur after medications as well due to lack of defensive immune system or poor nutrition.

Meanwhile, you need not to stop your medicines even not a single day. Never miss your any dose of TB antibiotics. If you miss one day; you will have to start the course again.

How it feels to be; an active Breast TB patient?

None disease is easy to face or even suffer. No human would like to have any disease in his life. But as a Muslim, we have been taught so beautifully that every disease or sorrow comes from Allah Subhan O Tala as a test of your character and patience. This is very true btw!. I have been suffering breast TB for the last six months and my journey is no more hard than a test of my real patience only. Everyday, waking you so early, having your heavy medicines doses, sometimes drive you crazy of being so hopeless. But it is all about ;continuous patience and measuring your patience. The wonderful suggestion is to treat every disease with best of your personal research, knowledge and understanding. Try to understand this fact that; every disease comes with a sadqa of your body. Insha Allah, every thing will be fine while practicing positive thoughts.

Breast TB symptoms ;

It includes a dull ache, heaviness, tightness, a burning sensation in the breast tissue, or breast tenderness. Infectious cold abscess, sinuses on breast or around the nipple. It appears in the form of yellowish pus type lump.

Causes of breast TB;

Unlike other common TB types, one person may noticing TB is a bacterial disease. It can transfer from one victim to other normal person through coughing, sneezing or the TB bacteria in the air inhaled by someone.In some cases, it has also been noticed that TB can attack those people so easily with continuous stress or depression state.But in my case it is slightly different. In my family we faces TB cases of lungs, TB infection in backbone and chest TB. It is rarely me and my elder sister (both) we got breast TB.

Now question is that if TB causes by such sources then in breast TB the patient doesn't have the symptoms of cough. So how it did transfer into me? Secondly, we have a separate family system and I never experienced living with a TB patient near me. When my elder sister was diagnosed with breast TB and started her medical course; I was not living with her. She was in a different place and I was somewhere else throughout her medical course duration. Even we observed she never had coughing symptoms.

So how we both fell victim of breast TB? From where the germs/bacteria transferred into us? Why sequenced; first elder sister suffered breast TB and just after her the younger one diagnosed with the same though not living together? It is yet not found that what has exactly caused a breast TB in both of us. Unlike other TB types; Dr. Muhammad Shafeeq Qaisrani (MBBS, FCPS, ASSISTANCE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY and active researcher of breast TB) concludes with an observation that;

-It can be a genetically disease (as in my case it is)

- Generally due to Poor Nutrition 

Health Tips for active breast TB patients;

-Get good nutrition while you have TB.

-Take Leafy, dark-colored greens like kale and spinach, for their high iron and B-vitamin content

-Plenty of whole grains, like whole wheat pastas, breads, and cereals

-Antioxidant-rich, brightly-colored vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, and squash, and fruits, like tomatoes, blueberries, and cherries — think of buying produce in a full rainbow of colors

-Unsaturated fats like vegetable or olive oil, instead of butter

What to Avoid When You Have Active Tuberculosis

As is always the case for good health, there are certain foods you shouldn’t eat and substances you shouldn’t use.

-Skip tobacco in all forms.

-Don't drink alcohol or any kind of energy/cold drinks — it can add to the risk of liver damage from some of the drugs used to treat your TB.

-Limit coffee/Chai and other caffeinated drinks. ( I would personally suggest even not to take)

-Limit refined products, like sugar, white breads, and white rice.

-Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol red meat and instead load up on leaner protein sources like poultry, beans, tofu, and fish.

-avoid taking curd, fried & oily things ( fast food)

Getting and Staying Healthy With Active TB?

Many medications used to treat active tuberculosis have side effects that can make it difficult to eat well. With some drugs, you could:

-Lose your appetite

-Feel nauseated


-Experience abdominal cramping

-weight loss

-pimple on your face ( don't worry, there is no need to apply anything for treatment. These will get off naturally as sooner as you will be done with your medical course). You just need to apply simply Natural mud mask or any sun blocker while going out.

-loss of skin and face color (mostly it turns dark brown)

This is it. For any further guideline/awareness campaigns/seminars/programs or assistance, the national health care centers for TB Control can reach me out at ;

Together, we can aware and we can fight TB.

Important end note for all female active TB Patients ; " stop wearing bra while your in a state of discharging or infectious lump in active breast TB. If the lump is not discharging then you should use ifg bra. Please stop using any less competitive or poor quality bra.

This story was submitted in response to Our Bodies, Our Health.

Comments 17

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Oct 06
Oct 06

Dear Nabila,
You are a very strong woman, I can see from this your story. So is it fully treated in your case? I know about TB but breast TB, it's my first time.
This post is very educative on the topic. Thanks very much for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend.
Hugs dear

Nabila Abbas
Oct 06
Oct 06

Hello Lisabeth,
Yeah my medical course for 6 months has completed now. My ESR report was clear. But after one month ( September 2019) I observed yellow lump on my breast. I broke out coz I thought might be again I have to cover the whole medical course. But my doctor told its an external infection not TB infection. These aftermath could occur due to heat or poor nutrition. Take care of your diet.
Note : if breast TB is not carefully observed and treated, it becomes old and can develop into breast cancer.
Yet, I sometimes feel pain into effected breast. Once you have recovered you shouldn't expect to be fully recovered. It can happen again.

Oct 06
Oct 06

Dear Nabila,

Thank you for sharing about breast TB. It is my first time to know that there is such like this. This gives awareness to everybody.

Nabila Abbas
Oct 06
Oct 06

Hello Maeann,
Yes dear, before this, I also haven't even heard of breast TB. But now I have suffered I could easily relate all its stuff.
Note : If breast TB is not carefully observed and treated, it becomes old and can develop into breast cancer.

Tarke Edith
Oct 06
Oct 06

Dear Nabila
Thanks for sharing this important awainess about Brest T B with us.l am sorry you were affected.
But thank God you are ok . you are doing a great job dear to educate other women.
Be blessed sister.

Nabila Abbas
Oct 06
Oct 06

Hello Tarek,
Yeah I am doing well now. Thanks for your generous support :)

Jill Langhus
Oct 07
Oct 07

Wow, Nabila! You're so brave. Thanks for sharing this very informative post. I have never heard of this before. It will help a lot of other women before aware of this condition. I'm so glad you're okay now, too!

Hope you're having a great day, dear!?


Nabila Abbas
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hello Jill,
I hope you would be doing well.
Yeah I am fine now. I suffered this disease for the last 6 months of this year.
I'm enthusiastically educating others,now. Anything on your breast can turn you into panic as it is one of the sensitives part. I pray and wish no woman should suffer any disease like this. We have to take extra care of ourselves especially diet plan.

Jill Langhus
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hello dear!

Yes, thank you!

Phew. Great to hear:-) That's awesome that you're helping to educate others and spreading awareness, too. I agree:-)


Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Dear Nabila,
Thank you for your very educative post. This is very new to me and I am glad you have broken the silence.
Have a lovely day.

Nabila Abbas
Oct 08
Oct 08

Thanks lovely for your support

Hello, Nabila dear,

Thank you for sharing this information about Breast TB. This is also the first time I have heard of it. Wow, you are strong to be enduring this. I hope you are getting cured. Congratulations on being one of the recently featured encouragers, by the way. Great job! Keep up the great work.

Nabila Abbas
Oct 15
Oct 15

Thanks lovely for your generous support :)

You’re welcome, lovely!

Oct 15
Oct 15

Dear Nabila,
so sorry to hear about your sufferings but it's good that you have recovered.
Thank you so much for this informative article on women's health. I am hearing this for the first time, there are a list of women's diseases I used to fear and now its the new one god...., maybe how many types of the disease of women are there and are suffering :( :(
anyways it was so informative for the awareness.
take care

Nabila Abbas
Oct 15
Oct 15

Thanks dear for your lovely support.
Yes, I have also not been familiar with this disease before.
This disease had taught me a lot of lessons of life ; like patience, hope and d determination. Since childhood, I have always been a sick child with rare diseases. But this one was one of the worst than ever. Proper precautions and medications can save your life.
I would recommend to share with all women.

Oct 15
Oct 15

Yes sure, it's always good to be aware, which helps to recover self on time. Your experience has made you so strong and patience. Please do take care of yourself dear Nabila.