I've Found a Lump in My Breast
Don't panic. Eighty percent of all breast lumps are benign breast lumps, which are non-cancerous. Breast lumps can be caused by:
- benign breast changes
- breast infection or injury
- medications may cause lump or breast pain
- breast cancer
What Are the Most Common Types of Benign Breast Lumps?
The most common benign breast lumps are fibrocystic changes, breast cysts, and fibroadenomas. Most women have a certain degree of fibrocystic changes. These benign breast lumps are often described as benign tiny fluid-filled sacs that may feel like lumps. They may be hard or rubbery and often fluctuate with the menstrual cycle. A woman can also have a single breast lump that may be large or small. Again this is a fluid-filled sac that may fluctuate with the menstrual cycle. A fibroadenomas is another benign breast lump and is the most common tumor found in the female breast. These benign breast lumps most often occur in women who are in their reproductive years.
Can Men Have Breast Lumps?
Yes, men can have tender breast enlargement, often with a lump beneath the nipple. Sometimes this is in one breast, often in both. This benign breast lump is called gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can also occur after certain types of medications are prescribed.
Can a Breast Lump Indicate an Infection?
Possibly. Sometimes breast infections are first noticed as a painful lump, with or without redness.
What Should I Do if I Find a Lump?
A lump in the premenopausal woman may be monitored for one to two months to see if it changes and is related to hormone fluctuations and the menstrual period. Any unexplained breast lump that persists should be checked by your health care provider. Call and make an appointment.
What Will Happen at the Appointment?
- A detailed health history will be taken and a thorough breast exam will be conducted.
- Breast imaging (mammogram or ultrasound) will be performed if your previous studies are not current.
- You might be scheduled for other diagnostics studies such as:
- A needle aspiration: a process which removes cells for evaluation
- A core biopsy: removes a very small sample of the lump for evaluation
- An excisional biopsy: surgical removal of the entire mass
- You may return to the physician for another evaluation in a few weeks time.
What Can I Do for Myself to Continue Good Breast Health?
- Monthly self breast examination.
- Have a baseline mammogram by the age of 40, and then as recommended by your health care provider.
- Regular breast examinations by your health care provider.
- Keep track of your family health history.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our Cleveland Clinic breast specialists. We offer diagnosis of benign breast lumps, as well as breast cancer treatment options for all patients.