Common Causes Of Breast Lumps
Fibroadenomas. These are the most common benign lumps. If you push on them, they are solid, round, rubbery lumps that move freely. Theyre usually painless. Women between 20 and 30 get them most often. Theyre also more common in African-American women. Fibroadenomas can be surgically removed.
Fibrocystic changes. Changes in hormones during your menstrual cycles can create changes in your breasts. These are known as fibrocystic breast changes. You could get lumps in both breasts that increase in size and tenderness just before your period. You might have nipple discharge as well.
The lumps are milk ducts and tissues around them that have grown and widened to form cysts. These enlarge quickly in response to hormones released near your period. The lumps may be hard or rubbery and could feel like a single lump. Fibrocystic changes can also cause breast tissue to thicken.
These changes are often most noticeable during your 40s. Theyre the most common cause of benign breast lumps in women ages 35 to 50. Postmenopausal women are less likely to have these types of breast changes. Thats because they dont have monthly changes in hormones.
They dont require treatment, but your doctor may recommend ways to ease monthly tenderness.
Simple cysts. Simple cysts are fluid-filled sacs that usually affect both breasts. You could have one or many. They can vary in size. Their tenderness and size often change with your menstrual cycle.
What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
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When To Worry About Breast Lumps
So, you feel a lump in your breast. Or, is it a lump? You’re unsure.
The one thing you are sure about is that you’re worried and that you’ve got a lot of questions.
If you’re concerned about something that feels like a lump in your breast, Dr. Jitesh Joshi, medical oncologist at Houston Methodist Cancer Center, has answers to your questions about breast lumps, as well as some advice.
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Hard Immobile Lump In Breast
Can someone shed some light for me. Im 32 years old.
4 days ago I found a small hard smooth lump in my left breast not far away from my nipple. It doesnt move when I try to move it.
i went to see my doctor as she referred me under the two week urgency she said I would have a ultrasound.
I am 10 weeks pregnant with 2 other children. Im absolutely petrified its cancerous the fact it does not move is concerning. I have to wait till Monday and Im going out of my mind with worry- I cant leave the house and Im just sitting around with a black cloud hanging over me. When I received the referral letter it said suspected breast cancer which has totally frightened me. I keep crying and thinking the worst.
Does anyone know know what I can expect from a appointment- will I get answers straight away
will I have longer to wait I cannot worry my family with this
Are All Breast Cancer Lumps Hard
Knowing how your breast feel and looks like normally can be helpful when it comes to realizing a strange lump on it. Identifying a cancer lump on breast early can be a possible one way of making it easy to be treated easily and successfully. Not all lumps on breast that result from cancer are hard. A cancer lump can as well begin as a painless soft lump which after sometimes you may start to experience some serious symptoms.Breast cancer is rarely identified by just looking at how the lump feels or looks like. In case you have a lump on your breast you have to visit your doctor who may carry out some tests to rule out if it is cancer or not. Knowing what to look for when it comes to cancer lump should not take a place of your regular mammograms and other breast screening tests. This is because, screening can help to identify a lump on breast from cancer while still on its early stages.A breast cancer is commonly identified with a lump or a hard mass that is painless and irregular in shape. However, you may have a breast cancer while the lump has not yet been identified or you can have a tender, soft, or rounded mass also from cancer. The lumps can also be painful. Therefore, it is important to have any breast mass checked by your doctor to ascertain if it is cancer or just a benign.
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Breast Pain And Breast Cancer In Men
As with breast cancer in women, breast cancer in men is often painless. That said, it tends to push on nearby structures more rapidly than a tumor would in most women. In addition, hormone-induced breast pain is also, of course, less likely to occur in men. If you are a man experiencing breast pain, play it safe. Breast cancer can and does occur in men, and though only one in 100 breast cancers occurs in men, thatâs still far too frequent.
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Breast Cancer Tumor Cells
Under the microscope, breast cancer cells may appear similar to normal breast cells. They also may look quite different, depending on the tumor’s growth and grade.
Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways. The cells may be arranged in clusters. They also may be seen invading blood vessels or lymphatic vessels.
The nucleus of cancer cells can be striking, with nuclei that are larger and irregular in shape. These centers will stain darker with special dyes. Often, there are extra nuclei rather than just one center.
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If I Have Fibrocystic Breasts Should I Ask My Doctor About Other Types Of Screening
Sometimes mammograms of women with fibrocystic breast tissue may be more difficult to read and interpret. Many healthcare professionals recommend choosing a breast center that offers digital mammography. Digital mammograms allow the radiologist to change to contrast of light and dark and to enlarge areas of the breast tissue on the screen to more closely examine areas of concern.
Signs Of Breast Cancer That Aren’t A Lump
The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.
This page was updated on January 31, 2022.
For decades, the medical community and the media have waged an effective awareness campaign about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, educating the public about the importance of diligently monitoring their breasts for lumps. And the tactic has worked. Early detection has contributed to a 38 percent decline in breast cancer deaths in women from 1992 to 2018, according to the National Cancer Institute. While thats an important step forward, many other abnormalities that may also indicate breast cancer are lesser known and discussed. Some, then, may be led to assume that no lump and no tumor mean no cancer, but that may be a dangerous conclusion to draw.
When most people think about breast cancer symptoms, they think of breast lumps. But doctors say visual changes may be especially key in helping detect breast cancer early. You may notice some of these changes just by changing the way you look at your reflection in the mirror, says Cynthia Lynch, MD, Medical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® , Phoenix.
In this article, well discuss the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, including:
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Types Of Breast Lumps
There are numerous types of lumps that form on the breast. Your lump on breast can be cyclic mastalgia or non-cyclic mastalgia. Cyclic lumps are associated with menstrual cycle while noncyclic ones are not. Some lumps on the breast may be caused by infections and such lumps that will completely disappear as the infection is treated are the ones referred to as noncyclic mastalgia. In case you are not sure of the origin of your lump on breast, it is advisable you seek help from your doctor to make sure that you are not dealing with a serious condition.
Why You Shouldn’t Think Twice About Getting A Lump Checked
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.
“While many lumps will end up being benign breast lump disease, many others won’t be and we don’t want to miss out on diagnosing breast cancer,” says Dr. Joshi. “Through mammograms and other imaging modalities, breast cancer is very easy to catch and diagnose, and when caught early breast cancer is very, very treatable.”
In addition, Dr. Joshi says you shouldn’t avoid having a lump checked just because you’re worried about having a painful biopsy.
“Mammograms and breast ultrasounds are very powerful tools that can help us diagnose even the smallest breast cancers with very high specificity,” explains Dr. Joshi. “We don’t need to biopsy the lump in every case.”
Lastly, if you’re nervous about going to your doctor’s office to have a lump checked during COVID-19, don’t be. Houston Methodist doctor offices and imaging centers have enhanced safety measures in place and are taking extra precautions to keep you safe during your appointment or mammogram, including:
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Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Early on, a person may notice a change in their breast when they perform a monthly breast exam or when minor abnormal pain doesnt seem to go away. Early signs of breast cancer to look for include:
- changes in the shape of the nipple
- breast pain that doesnt go away after your next period
- a new lump that doesnt go away after your next period
- nipple discharge from one breast thats clear, red, brown, or yellow
- unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness, or rash on the breast
- swelling or a lump around the collarbone or under the arm
A lump thats hard with irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous.
What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like
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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How Are Breast Cysts Found
Cysts usually become noticeable as a lump in the breast or are found by chance during a routine screening mammogram or while having investigations at a breast clinic for another reason.
If you see your GP because you have found a breast lump, theyll sometimes be able to say whether it feels like a cyst. However, theyre still likely to refer you to a breast clinic where youll be seen by specialist doctors or nurses and have further tests.
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Living With Benign Breast Conditions
The pain and tenderness of a benign breast condition can be uncomfortable. Your sleep position and clothing can affect your pain level.
Living with benign breast conditions can be emotionally hard, as well. Many women are worried that a non-cancerous lump will turn into cancer. While thats not likely, there is a small chance it could happen. Your doctor may recommend regular screenings of your breasts. That might increase your worry and anxiety. It also can be expensive.
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How Is A Benign Breast Condition Diagnosed
You may notice something different about your breast. Sometimes your doctor will detect the problem during a routine exam or screening. When you see your doctor, he or she will ask questions about what youre experiencing. Your doctor will ask about your family history of breast cancer and conduct a physical exam of your breasts .
Further testing may be necessary to rule out cancer. These tests may involve a mammogram or an ultrasound. Ultrasound technology allows your doctor to look inside your breasts by moving a small wand-like device around the outside of them.
Your doctor may also suggest surgery to remove the lump, or a fine needle biopsy or aspiration. Thats a procedure where a thin needle connected to a syringe is inserted into the lump to remove a sample of tissue or fluid from the lump. Surgery and biopsies are done at a hospital. Your biopsy will be sent to a lab to be examined. All test results will be sent to your doctor. They will call you with the results.
If the results from a physical exam and fine needle biopsy diagnose the breast condition as benign, a follow-up physical exam should occur in 4 to 6 weeks.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump While Breastfeeding
Breast cancer in women of childbearing age is not common, and lumps found while breastfeeding are likely to be benign. Breast changes while nursing are normal and may include a clogged milk duct or mastitis. However, it is important to report any new lump to your doctor to make sure it is benign and get treatment to help alleviate any discomfort.
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Genetics And Family History
A genetic mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. The result is that one or more of the body’s processes may not work in the way they should.
There are a number of genetic mutations known to increase your risk of developing breast cancer. The most significant mutation identified is known as the BRCA2 mutation. Faulty genes are believed to be the cause of male breast cancer in around 1 or 2 in every 10 cases.
There’s also evidence that breast cancer can run in families, especially in men who have a first-degree relative who has developed breast cancer, such as a mother or sister.
Routine testing for the faulty genes that cause breast cancer in men isn’t usually carried out on the NHS, unless specifically requested by a specialist. However, some private clinics may offer gene testing. Tests can be expensive, with prices ranging from around £2,000 to £3,000.
What Causes This Cancer
The exact causes for the development of mammary tumors in dogs are not fully understood. It is well known that exposure to specific hormones, namely progesterone, increases the risk for developing mammary cancers in dogs. This is because progesterone stimulates growth factors that cause mammary cells to multiply .
The incidence of these tumors is related to whether a dog is intact or has had an ovariohysterectomy . Dogs spayed prior to their first heat have only a 0.5% risk of developing mammary tumor. However, after a first or second heat, this dramatically increases to a risk of 8% and 26%, respectively. Age also appears to play a role the risk of tumor development significantly increases once a dog reaches 7 years of age and continues increasing until 11-13 years of age. This increased risk is breed dependent indicating that there is a genetic component.
âCertain breeds appear to be more commonly affected, including Chihuahuas, Poodles, Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Brittany Spaniels, English Setters, Boxer Dogs, and Doberman Pinchers.â
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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer That Arent A Lump
Lumps get most of the attention when you think about the symptoms of breast cancer. Youve probably heard that you should check your breasts regularly and be on the lookout for new or unusual bumps you can’t remember being there before. If you do find one, don’t panicsome women’s breasts happen to be lumpy without it being a sign of cancer. But if it’s a new lump, feels different from other lumps, or you just want some reassurance, its a good idea to get it looked at by a doctor.
But there are other breast cancer signs you should know, too. Its not uncommon for breast cancer to present itself as something other than a lump, Jack Jacoub, M.D., a medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF, estimating that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers he’s seen don’t involve one. While the most common symptom of breast cancer is still a new bump or mass, according to the American Cancer Society, here are a few others that should be on your radar, too.
If you find something off with your boobs, the odds are pretty high that its something thats completely unrelated to cancer. Its important to put everything into context, Dr. Jacoub says. Still, its a good idea to get new and unusual breast symptoms checked out, just in case.