What to Do if You Find a Breast Lump?
Breasts have tissues of varying consistency, including fatty, glandular, and connective tissue. Every woman finds breast-related symptoms, such as tenderness or lumpiness, change with her menstrual cycle. Lumps during this time might be caused by extra fluid in your breasts. Breast tissue also changes with age, typically becoming fattier and less dense.
Breast lumps are bumps, growths, or hard areas that feel different from the rest of your breast. You might notice a breast lump by chance or during a breast exam. Breast lumps are common. Most lumps aren’t cancer. Breast lumps may be painful or painless. Lumps may feel smooth, round, and movable, or lumpy and thick.
Cancer isn't the most common cause of breast lumps.
The most common causes of breast lumps are:
• Fibroadenomas are usually found in young women; they have a consistency similar to that of a handball. They are mobile, solid, firm, well-delineated, and usually painless masses. They may undergo rapid change in size during adolescence, pregnancy, menopause, or with hormonal treatment.
• Fibrocystic changes, which are general lumpiness and pain in your breasts caused by monthly changes in female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone
• Fibrocystic disease accounts for at least half of all breast lumps in women. These lesions are commonly multiple and bilateral and are often characterized by pain and tenderness that increases just before the menstrual period. Three stages are recognized: (1) a tender premenstrual swelling occurs in young women; (2) in the late twenties and thirties, multinodular changes can be felt, occasionally with a dominant two-dimensional mass; (3) a cystic stage is seen in patients in their fourth or fifth decade of life. These lesions often develop suddenly, accompanied by dull pain or burning sensation.
Less common causes of breast lumps are:
• Breast infection
• A clogged milk gland after you stop breastfeeding
• Breast cancer- Breast cancer presents as a lump or mass in the breast in approximately 90% of patients. The lesions are typically solitary, unilateral, irregular, hard, nonmobile, and painless. Pain does not, however, exclude breast cancer.
• Mammary duct ectasia, a benign lesion, is one of the lesions that may produce nipple discharge in postmenopausal women.
• Intraductal papilloma’s may produce unilateral nipple discharge, occasionally with a mass in the area of the areola.
You may have just received an abnormal mammogram result, or perhaps you or your health care provider found a breast lump or other breast change. But keep in mind that breast changes are very common, and most are not cancer. Most women have changes in the breasts at different times during their lifetime (mentioned below) and can develop breast lumps.
• Before or during your menstrual periods, your breasts may feel swollen, tender, or painful. You may also feel one or more lumps during this time because of extra fluid in your breasts. Your health care provider may have you come back for a return visit at a different time in your menstrual cycle to see if the lump has changed.
• During pregnancy, your breasts may feel lumpy. This is usually because the glands that produce milk are increasing in number and getting larger. While breastfeeding, you may get a condition called mastitis. This happens when a milk duct becomes blocked. Mastitis causes the breast to look red and feel lumpy, warm, and tender. It may be caused by an infection and it is often treated with antibiotics. Sometimes the duct may need to be drained.
• As you approach menopause, your hormone levels change. This can make your breasts feel tender, even when you are not having your menstrual period. Your breasts may also feel lumpier than they did before.
• If you are taking hormones (such as menopausal hormone therapy, birth control pills, or injections) your breasts may become denser. This can make a mammogram harder to interpret. Be sure to let your health care provider know if you are taking hormones.
• After menopause, your hormone levels drop. You may stop having any lumps, pain, or nipple discharge that you used to have.
A benign lump is biologically different from cancer and can't turn into cancer. However, it's very important to make sure the lump is benign in the first place. Most breast tissue changes are benign, but the tumors may still be large enough to detect by hand. Symptoms of these noncancerous growths in the breast include:
• Raised bump on or under the skin
• Large enough to feel, if close to the skin
• Firm or soft when you press
• May freely move when you press
• No skin changes
• No nipple or areolar changes
According to the WHO, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with an estimated lifetime risk of 12%. Benign breast disease is often more common, affecting between 25% and 50% of adult women and accounting for 3% of general practitioners' encounters with female patients. Most of these cases may present initially with a new breast mass. It is crucial, therefore, for every clinician to have confidence in assessing and managing these patients, and a thorough, consistent approach will enable this. The triple assessment approach discussed in this article has improved outcomes by allowing prompt diagnosis and a coordinated interprofessional approach.
Yes. A small number of women will develop new benign lumps in the future. Cysts, for example, may refill with fluid.
Yes. A biopsy should not affect your ability to breastfeed in the future. Usually, only a very small area of breast tissue is removed. Even if you need a biopsy while you're breastfeeding, you'll probably not need to stop. Talk any questions through with your doctor, a breast care nurse, or a breastfeeding consultant.
A biopsy scar is usually small and will fade over time. If you need a biopsy, check with your surgeon beforehand about the likely size and position of the scar. Sometimes rubbing vitamin E cream into the scar afterward helps.
Women who have a strong family history, and who developed breast cancer before the age of 50, maybe at a higher risk of breast cancer. If you're concerned about a family history of breast cancer, talk with your doctor, who may refer you to a Family Cancer Centre for advice. Doctors may advise women with a strong family history of breast cancer to have regular mammograms (perhaps annually) as part of a ‘surveillance' program.
If your doctor has suggested your problem is hormonal, you may wish to wait until after your next period to see if it's still there. If it is, or you're still concerned, you may wish to go back to your doctor and request some tests or get a second opinion.
Many people diagnosed with breast cancer are successfully treated. Finding breast cancer early offers the best chance of successful treatment and recovery. For more information visit us at www.drdangslab.com
or call 999-999-2020.
Being familiar with how your breasts normally feel makes it easier to detect when there's a change in your breasts.
Consult your physician if:
• You find a new breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
• You notice a change in the size, shape, or appearance of your breast
• Breast pain doesn't go away after your next period
• You notice skin changes on your breast, such as itchiness, redness, scaling, dimpling or puckering
• You have a newly inverted nipple
• You notice spontaneous nipple discharge
Evaluation of a breast lump begins with a clinical breast exam. During this exam, your physician/ doctor will likely:
• Ask questions associated with your symptoms and your risk factors for breast cancer or benign breast conditions
• Examine your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities
• Examine the skin on your breasts
• Check for nipple problems, such as inversion or discharge
If your doctor confirms that you have a breast lump or other area of concern, you'll likely need testing.
Breast lumps are frightening but common. And while you already know that a lump could potentially signal breast cancer, you've probably also heard that most lumps are noncancerous, or benign.
All breast lumps need to be evaluated by a physician, regardless of your age or where in your breast you feel the lump. Often, breast lumps are harmless. But any lump could potentially be breast cancer. Some features that make a lump particularly concerning, include:
• Changes in the skin over the lump, like Peau D'Orange or retraction of nipple, ulceration
• Nipple changes, including enlargement or bloody discharge
• Changes in the size of the lump
• Additionally, having a family history of breast cancer
The first action by default after feeling a breast lump should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. Your doctor will look for a variety of features and characteristics. Based on the physical and clinical characteristics of the lump, your doctor may or may not recommend follow-up tests to evaluate the mass more thoroughly, such as a diagnostic mammogram or biopsy.
A woman's risk for breast cancer is highest after the age of 50, but even young women can develop breast cancer. Since any lump could potentially be cancerous, it's critical that you have any lump you may have felt evaluated by a doctor — no matter your age.
Lastly, if you're nervous about going to the laboratory for the pathology services (Biopsy, FNAC) during COVID-19, don't be. Dr. Dangs Lab has enhanced safety measures in place and is taking extra precautions to keep you safe during your appointment, including-
• Screening all patients when scheduling appointments and upon arrival
• Isolating COVID-19 patients from other patients, allowing us to treat everyone safely
• Wearing masks and other personal protective equipment while providing patient care
• Implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces
• Redesigning waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing
For informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice and call Dr. Dangs Lab at 999-999-2020.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion.