The majority of breast lumps are noncancerous, or benign. While you may be surprised to discover a breast lump, it’s critical to realize that it may have no long-term effect on your health. A breast lump, on the other hand, can be an indication of malignancy. It is always prudent to seek medical attention for any lumps or swelling on your breasts.
Although breasts are frequently associated with women, men and women both have breast tissue. Hormones have an effect on this tissue. Hormonal changes can result in the formation of lumps and, in certain situations, their spontaneous disappearance. Breast lumps can develop at any age.
Certain babies acquire breast lumps as a result of the estrogen their mothers provide during birth. These normally resolve once the estrogen is eliminated from their bodies. Prepubescent females can develop sensitive breast lumps. These typically resolve on their own during puberty. During puberty, adolescent boys can also develop breast lumps. These are also transient and typically vanish within a few months.
Causes of Breast Lumps
- Breast cancer
- Breast cysts (fluid-filled sacs in breast tissue that are usually benign)
- Fibroadenoma (a solid, benign mass most common in young women)
- Fibrocystic breasts (lumpy or rope-like breast tissue)
- Galactocele (a milk-filled cyst that’s usually harmless)
- Injury or trauma to the breast
- Intraductal papilloma (a benign, wartlike growth in a milk duct)
- Lipoma (a slow-growing, doughy mass that’s usually harmless)
- Mastitis (an infection in breast tissue that most commonly affects women who are breast-feeding)
When To See The Doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
- you discover a new lump
- an area of your breast is noticeably different
than the rest
- a lump does not go away after menstruation
- a lump changes or grows larger
- your breast is bruised for no apparent reason
- the skin of your breast is red or begins to
pucker like an orange peel
- you have an inverted nipple (if it was not
- you notice a bloody discharge from the nipple
Treatment of Breast Lump
Even if a suspicious breast lump warrants a visit to the doctor, therapy may not be necessary depending on the underlying cause. An assessment by the doctor will be followed by an ultrasound or mammography to determine what kind of lump is present. Some doctors may advise just keeping an eye on a fibrous growth or a cyst rather than removing it.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if an abscess is found and lanced and drained using a tiny needle. A biopsy may be performed if the doctor suspects cancer. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be used if cancer is discovered during a routine physical exam.
Perhaps a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation test should be ordered. Preventive surgery may be an option if this gene is present and breast cancer has already occurred. Most breast lumps are benign, but it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor.