Breast Pain or Lump Evaluation and Management

A breast lump is a growth of tissue that develops within your breast. Different types of breast lumps can vary in the way they look and feel. You may perceive a lump as a mass, growth, swelling, thickness or fullness.

You might notice:

·       A distinct lump with definite borders

·       A firm, hard area within your breast

·       A thickened, slightly more prominent area in your breast that’s different from surrounding breast tissue

·       Other breast changes, such as redness, dimpling or pitting of the skin

·       One breast that’s noticeably larger than the other

·       Nipple changes, such as a nipple that’s pulled inward or spontaneous fluid discharge from your nipple

·       Persistent breast pain or tenderness, which might increase during your menstrual period

Sometimes, a breast lump is a sign of breast cancer. That’s why you should seek prompt medical evaluation. Fortunately, however, most breast lumps result from noncancerous (benign) conditions.

Breast lumps can be caused by:

·       Breast cancer

·       Breast cysts — fluid-filled sacs in your breast that are usually benign

·       Fibroadenoma — a solid, benign mass most common in young women

·       Fibrocystic breasts

·       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

·       Milk cyst (galactocele) — a milk-filled cyst that’s usually harmless

Make an appointment to have a breast lump evaluated, especially if:

·       The lump feels firm or fixed

·       The lump persists beyond four to six weeks

·       You notice skin changes on your breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering

·       You have discharge, possibly bloody, from your nipple

·       Your nipple is turned inward and isn’t normally positioned that way

·       You can feel enlarging lumps in your armpit