What happens at an appointment for a breast lump?

If you feel a lump or anything unusual in your breast, see your healthcare provider. Here’s what you can expect at the initial appointment:

  • Health history: Your provider asks you about your symptoms, medical history, and family history.
  • Breast exam (mammogram or ultrasound): These imaging scans provide detailed views of the breast.
  • Discussion about other tests you might need: Your provider may want to examine the lump further.
  • What tests might I need for a breast lump?

Depending on the exam at your initial appointment, your provider may schedule other tests, including:

  • Breast MRI: This imaging scan uses magnetic fields to create detailed breast images.
  • Needle aspiration: Using a needle, your healthcare provider removes a sample of cells for evaluation.
  • Biopsy: This procedure removes a larger tissue sample for analysis. There are several types of biopsy procedures. During a core biopsy, surgeons or radiologists use a larger needle to remove a tissue sample. During an excisional biopsy, surgeons remove the entire breast lump and surrounding tissue.

Will lumps go away on their own?

Sometimes, lumps disappear on their own. Younger people may get lumps related to the menstrual cycle (period). Those lumps go away by the end of the cycle. However, always notify your healthcare provider about any lumps. Your provider can figure out what is causing the lump and determine if it needs further workup or treatment.

How are breast lumps treated?

Treatment for a breast lump depends on the cause. Some lumps don’t require any treatment.

  • Breast lump treatments include:
  • Antibiotics for a breast infection.
  • Fluid drainage for a breast cyst.
  • Excisional biopsy to remove the mass.
  • Cancer treatment if the lump is breast cancer. Cancer therapies may include lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

How can I maintain good breast health?

Pay attention to your body. If you notice changes or something feels off, talk to your healthcare provider. Ways to keep your breasts healthy:

  • Be aware of breast changes and report any concerns to your healthcare provider.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about screening options.
  • Know your breast density and how it may affect your mammogram.
  • Report changes in your family history to your provider every year.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy