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Where Do Breast Cancer Lumps Form

What Does Shoulder Blade Pain Feel Like When Its Related To Breast Cancer

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The type of pain you feel usually depends on whats causing it. Some people have shoulder pain due to nerve damage from radiation therapy or a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or lymph node removal.

If you have neuropathic pain, you may feel a shooting or burning sensation. Some people describe the discomfort as an intense tingling or itching feeling.

You might also experience sharp pain when you try to move your arms up or down. This pain can be accompanied by swelling, stiffness, or numbness.

If your pain is caused by cancer that has spread , it might feel like a deep, dull ache in your joints or bones. Pain near your right shoulder blade could mean that your liver is involved.

You may also feel depressed or anxious, and your sleep may be disrupted as a result of your pain. Not getting enough sleep may make your pain feel even worse.

Your shoulder is a complex, interconnected group of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. These structures work together to align your posture and help you move your arms.

Your scapula serves several important functions:

  • It cups the ball-shaped end of the humerus bone in your upper arm.
  • It serves as an attachment plate for several muscles and ligaments.
  • It moves in several directions as you use your arms, providing stability and flexibility.

Other treatments damage the nerves around your shoulder blade, causing long-lasting pain in your shoulders, arms, hands, and feet.

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.


How Is Benign Breast Disease Diagnosed

If you feel a lump or notice breast changes, see your healthcare provider immediately. Sometimes a mammogram or your healthcare provider first detects a change. Your provider may order one or more of these tests:

  • Imaging scans, including mammogram, ultrasounds or magnetic resonance imaging .
  • Lab test of nipple discharge to check for cancer cells.
  • Image-guided core needle breast biopsy, fine-needle aspiration biopsy or excisional biopsy to test cells for cancer.

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What Will Happen At My Appointment

The doctor will ask questions about your health history. Theyll perform a breast exam to feel for lumps or other changes in the breast tissue and under your arms.

If theres fluid coming out of your nipple, the doctor may order blood tests to check hormone levels and collect a sample to check for abnormal cells.

They may also do a mammogram or ultrasound to see if the lump is solid or filled with fluid.

Your doctor may order a test called a biopsy. Theyll take a tiny sample of the lump with a needle or small cut and send it to a lab.

Can You Tell When Exactly My Breast Cancer Started


Often times, one of the most frequently asked questions I get when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer is when did it begin? says Roesch. And the general rule is that we really cant tell for sure when the cancer popped up. We can look at the subtype of breast cancer to perhaps get a better understanding if it was weeks vs. months for example, but theres no way to tell for sure.

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Other Common Breast Conditions

Other common benign breast conditions include:

  • Breast calcifications do not cause any noticeable symptoms, usually found during breast screening or an investigation for another breast problem
  • Periductal mastitis occurs when the ducts under the nipple become inflamed and infected, causing a tender, hot or reddened breast

Types Of Benign Breast Lumps

There are many different types of benign breast lump. Most are either fibroadenomas or cysts.

  • Fibroadenomas. These are solid growths of tissue which may move underneath your fingers as you check your breast. Theyre not sore when you touch them. Fibroadenomas are the most common type of benign breast lump and youre most likely to get one between the ages of 16 and 24.
  • Cysts. These are round sacs of fluid that build up in your breast tissue. You can have one or more cysts and they vary in size. Youre most likely to get them between the ages of 35 and 50 and they can come and go.

Other, less common, causes of benign breast lumps include the following.

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What Does A Breast Cancer Lump Feel Like

Breast cancer is probably the most common form of cancer found in women around the world. If caught in early stages it is also completely treatable. Which is why it is so important to raise awareness about breast cancer and self-examination to detect any lumps at the early stages.

Finding a lump can be quite scary, however, in almost 80% of the cases, these lumps are benign. Just to be sure though, if you observe anything abnormal in your breast during a self-examination, you should get it checked right away.

What Is A Cyst

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A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the breast tissue. They most often happen in women between the ages of 35 and 50 and are common in those nearing menopause. The cysts often enlarge and become sore just before your period. They may seem to appear overnight. Cysts are rarely cancerous and may be caused by blocked breast glands.

Cysts can feel either soft or hard. When close to the surface of the breast, cysts can feel like a large blister, smooth on the outside, but fluid-filled on the inside. When they are deep in breast tissue, cysts will feel like hard lumps because they are covered with tissue.

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Are Cysts Hard Or Soft

Cysts can feel either soft or hard. When close to the surface of the breast, cysts can feel like a large blister, smooth on the outside, but fluid-filled on the inside. When they are deep in breast tissue, cysts will feel like hard lumps because they are covered with tissue.

Breast Changes During Your Lifetime That Are Not Cancer

Most women have changes in the breasts at different times during their lifetime.

  • 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 more lumpy than they did before.
  • If you are taking hormones your breasts may become more dense. 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.

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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.

If You Find A Breast Lump

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Most benign breast conditions are treatable, and some will even go away on their own, but it’s best to let your doctor be the one to tell you that. All breast lumps should be evaluated by a medical professional, who will help you decide how to proceed. Because of the fluctuations in breast tissue that occur in response to hormonal changes throughout the month, its typically a good idea to do a self-exam at the same point every month, such as a few days after the end of your menstrual cycle.

Additional reporting by .

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Why Do My Breasts Hurt

Breast pain is very common in women of all ages.

Having painful, sore or tender breasts can cause a lot of anxiety. But on its own, pain in the breasts isnt usually a sign of breast cancer.

Many women experience breast pain as part of their normal menstrual cycle . This is called cyclical breast pain.

Lasting pain in the breast thats not related to periods is known as non-cyclical breast pain.

Sometimes pain that feels as though its in the breast is coming from somewhere else, such as a pulled muscle in the chest. This is known as chest wall pain.

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Vacuum Assisted Excision Biopsy

You may be offered a vacuum assisted excision biopsy to remove the fibroadenoma. This is a way of removing small fibroadenomas under local anaesthetic, without having an operation under general anaesthetic.

After an injection of local anaesthetic, a small cut is made in the skin. A hollow probe connected to a vacuum device is placed through this. Using an ultrasound as a guide, the fibroadenoma is sucked through the probe by the vacuum into a collecting chamber. The biopsy device is used in this way until all of the fibroadenoma has been removed. This may mean that surgery can be avoided.

The removed tissue is sent to a laboratory and examined under a microscope.

This procedure can cause some bruising and pain for a few days afterwards. Removing a fibroadenoma does not usually affect the shape of the breast, but there may be a slight dent in the breast where it has been removed.

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Breast Cancer Lumps: What Does One Feel Like

Feeling a lump in your breast can be frightening especially if you have had breast cancer. As one MyBCTeam member wrote, Every night when Im in bed, I feel the lumps and get anxious. How could I not?! Although more than 80 percent of breast lumps turn out to be benign , it may be difficult for you to tell whether a lump is a cause for concern.

This guide will help you become more familiar with what normal bumps and variations in your breasts feel like versus lumps that may be cancerous. Tell your health care team immediately if you find a new lump in your breast. If the lump does turn out to be cancerous, early detection through procedures like screening mammograms is key to achieving the best possible outcomes. One MyBCTeam member offered great advice: Trust your instincts and if you have any concerns at all, speak to your doctor and get it checked. Always better to be safe than sorry.

What Do Lumps Feel Like

What to Do if You’ve Found a Lump in Your Breast

I’m just about to book another appointment with my GP after advice I got from one of you lovely ladies out there. I have a lump which I’m told is probably just normal breast tissue. The only thing is I have started to get new symptoms and now I find that I’m getting more than alittle paranoid about my friendly little lump. I check it in the bath, in the morning and during the day. I know its there and it feels different but when the doctor checks it she says there is thickening. I’ve had a mamogram and ultrasound and had the discharge checked but everything comes back clear. What are we meant to be looking for I just don’t know anymore and all I have is this very bad feeling there is something going on in my body that no one can read. Or perhaps I’m just going over the top and should stop worrying.

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Cancer Tumors Versus Cysts And Fibroadenomas

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.

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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What Is Fat Necrosis

Fat necrosis is a condition in which painless, round, firm lumps caused by damaged and disintegrating fatty tissues form in the breast tissue. Fat necrosis often occurs in women with very large breasts or who have had a bruise or blow to the breast. This condition may also be the result of a lumpectomy and radiation from a prior cancerous lump. In some cases, healthcare providers will watch the lump through several menstrual cycles. He or she may want to do a mammogram before deciding whether to remove it. These lumps are not cancerous and they do not increase your risk of cancer.

What Are The Causes Of Breast Lumps


Causes of breast lumps include:

  • Changes in the breast tissue : Tiny, fluid-filled sacs and fibrous tissue feel like lumps.
  • Breast cysts: Fluid-filled sacs form when fluid becomes trapped in the milk ducts. Cysts are common in premenopausal women.
  • Fibroadenomas: This benign lump is the most common breast tumor in young women . Fibroadenomas are most common during a persons reproductive years.
  • Breast infection: An infection in the breast tissue can cause a lump.
  • Breast cancer: A tumor growing in the breast tissue causes a lump.

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How Does Cancer Spread Beyond The Breast

Breast cancer can invade through nearby tissue, or spread through the body via the lymphatic system and blood.

  • Tissue: the cancer spreads from the original site and grows into nearby areas .
  • Lymphatic system: breast cancer cells break away from the original site and can enter nearby lymph tubes , grow in nearby lymph nodes or travel through lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood: breast cancer cells break away from the original site and can enter and travel through nearby blood vessels to other parts of the body.

What Do Breast Lumps Feel Like

How breast lumps feel depends on their cause, location, and growth. They can vary from painful, hard, and immobile to soft, painless, and easily moveable.

Lumps are most likely to be cancerous if they do not cause pain and are hard, unevenly shaped, and immobile.

Other breast lumps can feel different:

  • Fibroadenoma lumps tend to be painless, easily movable, smooth, and rounded. They may disappear on their own.
  • Breast cysts are smooth but firm.
  • Breast abscesses and mastitis usually cause painful, swollen lumps, and there may also be a fever and flushing around the affected skin.

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How Do You Know If You Have A Breast Condition

If you have an underlying breast condition, you might notice changes in how your breasts normally feel, such as: A round, smooth and firm breast lump. A large, solid-feeling lump that moves easily under your skin. A hard, irregular-shaped breast lump. Skin redness or dimpling like an orange. Changes in breast size or shape.


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