A breast lump is a mass that develops in an individual’s breast. This can be breast tissue that feels different from the breast mass around it or the breast tissue in the same region of the other breast. While a breast lump may indicate the possible presence of breast cancer, it frequently has no connection to the disease.
Causes of Breast Lumps
There are numerous potential causes of breast lumps, which include:
Benign (non-cancerous) conditions such as fluid build-up (breast cysts) or benign tissue growth (fibroadenoma)
A breast lump may occasionally be an indication of breast cancer or another serious condition
A milk-filled cyst known as galactocele, which is usually harmless
Fibrocystic breasts – these are lumpy or rope-like breast tissue
When to See a Doctor about a Breast Lump
It is highly recommended to see a doctor if you notice the following:
A lump that feels different on one side of the breast from the other, feels harder than the rest of the breast.
Nipple inversion (turning inward), dimpled skin, or bloody/clear nipple discharge.
Redness of the breast, discomfort, hot to the touch, or localized soreness
Some nipple changes like scaling or excoriation (obsessive-compulsive mental illness in which a person picks at their skin excessively, causing injury).
Diagnosis of Breast Lumps
It is highly recommended that if an individual feels anything unusual like a lump in the breast, to immediately seek medical intervention from a specialist. You should then expect the following at the initial appointment:
Health background: The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and family medical history
Breast exam: The doctor will conduct a physical test, imaging tests, mammograms, and/or ultrasounds which will provide detailed views of the breast
Talk about any other tests the patient might require: This could be important because the doctor might want to examine the lump further
Depending on the examination results at the initial consultation, the doctor could recommend additional exams such as:
Breast MRI: This is an imaging test that uses magnetic fields to create detailed images
Fine NeedleBiopsy: The procedure involves the removal of a tissue sample from the lump for analysis in the lab
Needle aspiration: The doctor takes a sample of cells using a needle for further evaluation
Treatment of Breast Lumps
The root cause of the breast lump will decide the course of treatment. However, some lumps may not need any form of treatment. Breast lump treatment includes:
Getting cancer therapy if a biopsy reveals breast cancer. This may include radiation therapy, mastectomy, and lumpectomies
Antibiotics for breast infection
Drainage of fluid for a breast cyst (if it is large or painful).
Bulk removal via excisional biopsy (if suspicious for cancer, painful, or enlarging)
Lumpectomy in breast cancer, which is surgery that removes the lump and surrounding healthy tissue
Mastectomy, which a surgical procedure that removes the entire affected breast
How to Maintain Good Breast Health
You can stay on top of your breast health by:
Talking to your doctor about preventative screening options
Keeping an eye out for breast changes and letting the doctor know in case of any concerns
Being aware of your breast density and how it may affect her mammogram results
Sharing reports with your doctor about changes in medical family history
Breast lumps can have many causes, including hormonal changes, cysts, fibroadenomas, and breast cancer.
No, most breast lumps are not cancerous. The majority of breast lumps are benign, meaning they are not cancerous, and can be caused by hormonal changes, cysts, or fibroadenomas.
Treatment for breast lumps depends on the cause of the lump. Benign breast lumps may not require treatment, while cancerous lumps may require surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast lumps, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting regular exercise. It is also important to get regular breast exams and mammograms as recommended by your Healthcare provider.