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Are Breast Cancer Lumps Hard Or Soft

Breast Lumps Caused By Infections

Breast Cancer : What Does a Breast Cancer Lump Feel Like?

Various infections in the breast may lead to different lumpy conditions in the breast. Common ones include mastitis, breast cellulitis, and breast abscesses.


Mastitis refers to a condition whereby there is inflammation in the breast tissue due to an infection. It is characterized by a hard area in the breast tissue. Mastitis may cause a clogged milk duct, which leads to a usually hard;lump in breast;that;hurts.

Occasionally, the skin on the nipple or areola gets injuries or cracks, particularly as a result of breastfeeding. Bacteria may gain entry into the breast tissue through small cracks and cause an infection. Accordingly, mastitis typically affects breastfeeding mothers.

Breast Cellulitis

Breast cellulitis refers to an inflammation of the skin and the underlying tissue in the breast area. It is a skin infection caused by different types of bacteria, but especially the streptococcus bacteria.

The infection usually occurs as a result of breast surgery or lymph node dissection.; Typical symptoms include the affected area becoming hot, red, swollen and painful to touch. These symptoms may spread out to the nearby areas such as the shoulder, upper arm and the back

Breast Abscesses

A breast abscess is an abscess that forms in the breast. It is a collection of pus within a localized area of the breast tissue due to an infection. They tend to occur more in breastfeeding mothers because of the exposure to bacteria due to injuries around the nipples.

How To Look For Changes

Standing in front of a mirror, a person should look at the overall appearance of the breasts and nipples. Here are some questions to think about while doing so:

  • Are they similar in size, shape, and height?
  • Is one a different color than the other?
  • Are there any visible skin lesions, marks, color changes, or moles?
  • Are there any signs of swelling, lumpiness, pitting, or contour changes?
  • Are the nipples facing outward or inward?

A person should run through this checklist twice: once with their arms at their sides and once with their arms above their head.

Breasts are rarely identical, but noticing changes can help detect a problem early. Having an idea of the usual size, shape, appearance, and feel of the breasts can help a person be aware of any changes.

Painful Lump Under Breast Bra Line

Your bra line may exert pressure on your breast more so if your bra is ill fitted. This may result in poor perspiration or general activities of the skin surrounding the breast. For example, when pores are closed this means it will be hard to contact it activity of losing excess oil and sweat therefore making them to be clogged inside the breast skin. This may eventually result in a development of a bump which may become very painful if it infected.It is very important to go measure your burst size, ad acquire bras that fit you well to avoid issues that are associated with tight bras. Apart from painful lump in breast, tight bra line may cause back pains and head ache due to restricted efficient flow of blood and other fluids to the organs.

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What If The Lump Feels Like A Ridge What If I Have A Pea

You should have a familiarity with your body and what the breast normally feels like, including its normal shape, appearance, and texture. Generally, women are advised to analyze their breasts in the shower with soapy fingers to get a nice feel of the normal tissues. If you do that and have some familiarity with your normal breast tissue, and then find something different, you should reach out to your medical team.

Related Questions Answered On Yanswers

Lung cancer
What do breast cancer lumps feel like?
Q: I meanIm not sure what my breasts are supposed to feel like, and if some lumps are normal, or what. What are breasts supposed to feel like? I mean, are they supposed to feel lumpy when you squeeze them? Like, I dont know how to explain it. Im not trying to be sick, Im just confused at what supposed to be and what is.
A: Theres no straightforward answer to this. What you should be looking for are any changes to how YOUR breasts normally are, which is why its important to be familiar with how they usually are many women have naturally lumpy breasts.Most breast lumps arent cancerous.My cancerous breast lump was largish, smooth and egg-shaped unusual apparently; the first two doctors to give me a physical exam, one of whom was a cancer specialist, didnt think it was a cancerous lump.My friends cancerous breast lump was long and thin; she described it as feeling like a long string bean.So theres not really a typical breast lump, you just stay aware and notice anything thats new or unusual for you.
Do breast cancer lumps feel hard or soft?
Q: I have read breast cancer lumps are generally hard and things like cysts are soft. Are there any other types of lumps that are benign, but hard?
A: I have had 2 cysts removed-both felt like marbles.Could not have been harder! Get to Dr. & if they have to do a needle biopsey it does not hurt! I swear!!

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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cysts

Breast cysts can feel soft or hard and can be any size, ranging from a few millimetres to several centimetres. Theyre usually oval or round in shape and can develop quickly anywhere in the breast. For some people, cysts can feel uncomfortable and even painful. Before a period, cysts may become larger and feel sore and tender as hormone levels change. However, many women can have cysts and not be able to feel them at all.

Although much more common in women, men can also get breast cysts.

What Does A Tumor Feel Like Under The Skin

Lumps, tumors and all sorts of things one can feel in the breast can feel surprisingly similar: firm, as opposed to the normal, more spongy tissue of the breast. They are often irregularly shaped as opposed to a sphere or ball shape. Lumps are also usually mobile within the breast, and can be moved around within the breast.

However, its important to note that this can vary from person to person. Ultimately, anytime you feel something thats different from what your normal breast tissue feels like, or if you notice anything that generally feels unusual, you should speak to her medical team about that.

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How Are Breast Cysts Diagnosed

Doctors often find breast cysts during routine mammograms that screen for breast cancer. But you may also discover a large breast cyst on your own.

During a clinical exam, your healthcare provider may say whether the lump feels like a cyst. You still may need a mammogram or ultrasound to see if the lump is solid or fluid-filled.

Cancer Tumors Versus Cysts And Fibroadenomas

How Can I Tell If I Have A Lump During My Breast Self-Exam?

Cysts, which are fluid-filled lumps, are common in the breast and are benign. They form when fluid builds up inside breast glands, and tend to be smooth or round. Fibroadenomas, which are benign tumors made up of glandular and connective breast tissue, are usually smooth and firm or rubbery to the touch. Both of these conditions tend to affect younger women; fibroadenomas are most common in women in their 20s and 30s, and cysts are most common in women under 40.

Despite these common descriptions, it is impossible to tell by touch whether a lump is cancer.

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What Does A Breast Cancer Lump Feel Like

Breast cancer often presents itself when a woman notices something out of the ordinary in her breast, a lump that feels different from the feeling of surrounding tissues and structures or a change, something new and different that was not felt before. That is why it is important to know;what your breasts normally feel like so that you will notice a difference that persists.

What Does Movable Lump In Breast Indicate

Most causes of movable breast;lump are benign , however any breast lump needs to be evaluated by your doctor just to rule out any underlying conditions.;Below are some of the causes:

1. Premenstrual Breast Tissue Changes

Some women experience breast tissue changes in the weeks before a period. They tend to disappear after your period is over. They are caused by your hormones going up prior to your period.;

Symptoms include;very large lumps of hard tissue that move around, tender sore breasts, swelling, and discomfort when wearing a bra. The levels of estrogen rise and your milk ducts begin to grow. Your progesterone then rises and causes swelling in your milk glands. You may even be feeling the swollen milk ducts.

Premenstrual breast tissue changes are usually nothing to worry about. If you develop a lump or lumps that do not go away with your period, then you should contact your doctor.

Cancer Risk: Benign

2. Fibrocystic Breast Disease

If you have painful lumps in your breast or breasts over most of the month, you may have fibrocystic breast disease. This is a benign condition that also flares according to hormonal changes. When your ovaries produce hormones, your breast tissue may respond by becoming thick and lumpy.;Symptoms include lump or lumps in the breast, band of hard breast tissue, pain in the area of the lumps, and breast soreness.

Cancer Risk: Benign, but can mask cancerous lesions in the breast.;

3. Fatty Tumors

Cancer Risk: Benign

4. Fibroadenoma

5. Mastitis

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Causes Of Breast Lumps

Lumps in the breasts can have lots of different causes.

They’re often caused by something harmless like a non-cancerous tissue growth or a build-up of fluid .

Breast Cancer Now has more information about fibroadenoma and breast cysts.

Sometimes, a breast lump can be a sign of something serious like breast cancer.

How Big Are Breast Cancer Lumps

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Cancerous breast lumps do not have a set size. Some could be the size of a pea while others could be larger. Any lump, no matter how big or small, could cause cancer.

That said, the longer a cancerous lump grows, the greater the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body. This is why it is important that people speak with a doctor as soon as they notice a lump in their breast of any size.

Benign breast lumps are non-cancerous, and it is normal for people to have them at some point during their lives. Cysts and fibroadenomas are examples of benign breast lumps.

According to, symptoms of benign breast lumps include:

  • general breast pain
  • nipple pain
  • yellow or green discharge from the nipple

However, some types of breast cancer also present with these symptoms, so it is important that a person speaks with a doctor as soon as they notice any changes in their breast.

Also, some benign breast conditions can increase the risk of a person developing breast cancer later in life. In these cases, a doctor will draw up a treatment plan and monitor the breast for any changes.

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How Quickly Does A Breast Cancer Tumor Grow

On average, the doubling time for a breast cancer tumor, or time for a tumor to double in size, is approximately 50 to 200 days. The growth rate of a breast tumor varies based on the type of breast cancer, tumor characteristics, the age of the patient at diagnosis, and menopausal status. Inflammatory breast cancer tumors and triple negative breast cancer tumors tend to grow faster than estrogen receptor positive and;HER2 negative;tumors.

What Should You Do If You Feel A Breast Lump

Dr. Joshi says your first action 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 in order to answer questions such as:

  • How large is the lump?
  • Does the lump move and slip under the fingers, or is it attached to the skin?
  • Is the lump painless or painful?
  • Is the lump accompanied by red, itchy or inflamed skin?
  • Is the lump affecting the nipple, causing inversion or discharge?
  • Is the lump changing in size?
  • Does the lump become more painful or change in size around your period?
  • Is there more than on lump?
  • Are there lumps in both breasts?

“Based on the physical and clinical characteristics of the lump, your doctor may or may not recommend follow-up tests to more thoroughly evaluate the mass, such as a diagnostic mammogram or biopsy,” explains Dr. Joshi.

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How To Tell If A Lump Might Be Cancerous

How they feel Hard, and they don’t hurt or move. You would find one in the lower half of the neck.

Why they pop up The cause of thyroid nodules is not known. After verifying that yours is benign, your M.D. might simply monitor you. If you have additional thyroid symptoms, however, treating the underlying disorder with medication or with radioactive iodine can shrink the lump.

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How they feel Like a soft grape. They are often tender to the touch. These fluid-filled sacs are common in breasts and the genital area.

Why they pop up Breast cysts tend to wax and wane with your cycle; if you have one that persists longer than a month, request an ultrasound or a fine-needle aspiration. Should you find a soft genital bump, it’s likely that a blocked oil duct has caused an epidermoid cyst, says Anita Shivadas, M.D., an internist at the Cleveland Clinic. If it is sensitive, apply warm, moist compresses and antibiotic cream. No pain? Leave it alone.

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How they feel Like a squishy ball of tissue that moves easily. These fat deposits show up mostly on the legs, trunk and arms, explains Eileen S. Moore, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Why they pop up Lipomas tend to run in families. Unless they are painful or impinge on a nerve or blood vessel, your M.D. can keep an eye on them; otherwise, they can be surgically removed.

What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like

Are Cancerous Lumps In The Breast Hard Or Soft

In general, cancerous breast lumps tend to be more irregular in shape. They may also feel firm or solid, and might be fixed to the tissue in the breast. They are also often painless. However, in a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.

Breast cancer lumps can vary in size. Typically, a lump has to be about one centimeter before a person can feel it; however, it depends on where the lump arises in the breast, how big the breast is, and how deep the lesion is.

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Signs Of Cancerous Breast Tumors

Though most breast lumps are benign, some do turn out to be cancerous. If a tumor is cancerous, it will continue to grow and invade normal nearby tissue. If it isnt treated, it can spread to other areas in the body.

Most cancerous breast tumors first appear as single, hard lumps or thickening under the skin. Other signs to watch for include a change in nipple appearance, nipple secretions, nipple tenderness, and a dimpling or puckering of the skin.

About half of cancerous breast lumps appear in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast, extending into the armpit. About 18 percent of breast cancer tumors show up in the nipple area. Around 11 percent are found in the lower quadrant, and 6 percent are located in the lower, inner quadrant.

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How Are Fibroadenomas Diagnosed And Treated

Your healthcare provider may diagnose this type of lump simply by feeling it. But, he or she will want to confirm the diagnosis with a mammogram or ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration. Sometimes, in very young women, the fibroadenoma is not removed. However, since sometimes these tumors enlarge with pregnancy and breastfeeding, your provider may suggest having it surgically removed.

While most fibroadenomas do not lead to cancer, there is a type of fibroadenoma that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly in women with a family history of the disease.

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Poverty And Access To Quality Medical Care And Mammography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the poverty rate for Black Americans in 2019 was nearly 19 percent, compared with just over 7 percent of white Americans. In addition, in 2020 the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that Black Americans were 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than white Americans.

Living at or below the poverty line and not having access to comprehensive medical insurance creates tremendous barriers for Black women. Sadly, this often results in Black women being diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage or after the cancer has spread, which inevitably increases their mortality rate.

Gary stresses the importance of receiving not only timely medical care but also high-quality medical attention. This means a doctor who will spend time with their patients, answer questions, and connect them with the diagnostic and treatment services needed.

Too often, people living in poverty in the United States or living in disadvantaged areas dont have access to quality healthcare, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Breast Lumps And Pain Medications

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

When nonmedical treatment fails to control cyclic breast pain, your health care professional may prescribe birth control pills or danazol . Be sure to ask about possible side effects of these medications and report them to your doctor if you experience them.

  • Many other drugs have been tried in the treatment of cyclic breast pain and have been found not to be useful or are generally not recommended because of their side effects.
  • Noncyclic breast pain is managed by treating the underlying cause. If a mass or lump is found, it is checked and treated. When your breast pain is caused by chest wall tenderness, it is treated with anti-inflammatory medication or rarely by steroid injections.
  • If no cause for the noncyclic pain is found, a pain treatment protocol for cyclic pain is usually tried and often found to be successful.
  • For simple mastitis without an abscess, oral antibiotics are prescribed. The antibiotic chosen will depend on the clinical situation, your doctor’s preference, and your medication allergies, if any. This medicine is safe to use while breastfeeding and will not harm the baby.
  • Chronic mastitis in nonbreastfeeding women is more complicated. Recurrent episodes of mastitis are common. Occasionally this type of infection responds poorly to antibiotics. Therefore, close follow-up with your doctor is mandatory.

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