A Lump in the Breast That Isn’t Cancer

August 23, 2022 11:33 am Published by

breast lump

It’s entirely normal to feel concerned when you feel a lump in your breast. But while some breast lumps are signs of cancer, that’s not always the case.

Many lumps in breast tissue are the result of some other medical condition that’s benign, or noncancerous. In fact, as many as 80% of breast lumps turn out to be benign after they’ve been tested.

If you feel a lump, it’s important to have it checked out by your OB-GYN or another provider. But have peace of mind in knowing that it may be something other than breast cancer.

Finding a Breast Lump

Breast tissue changes all the time, particularly as a woman moves through different stages and phases of life. Because of that, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and what’s cause for concern.

The best thing you can do to protect your breast health is to be proactive. If you’re age 40 or older, talk with your provider about a breast screening regimen, which may include an annual mammogram or ultrasound, depending on your risk of breast cancer. Regardless of your age, it’s also a good idea to stay familiar with your breast tissue.

While formal monthly breast-self exams are no longer recommended as part of breast cancer screening guidelines, you should still check your breasts regularly. Know what they look and feel like and report any changes to your provider.

When you’re examining your breasts, you want to check for lumps or other symptoms, including pain or tenderness, skin irritation, redness on the breast skin, nipple pain, and discharge from the breast.

All of these signs can be symptoms of breast cancer, but they can also be related to benign breast conditions, which is why it’s best to have them checked out promptly.

Different Kinds of Breast Lumps in Women

There are a number of common benign breast conditions that can cause lumps and other related symptoms, including:

  • Cysts. Fibrocystic breast changes or breast cysts are the most common cause of noncancerous breast lumps. These cysts often occur during ovulation. Fibrocystic lumps may enlarge and become more painful during a woman’s period, decreasing after the period is over.
  • Fat necrosis. This noncancerous condition often occurs after breast tissue is damaged or injured.
  • Fibroadenomas. These are benign tumors made up of fibrous and glandular tissue. They’re most common in young women and are the most frequent cause of breast lumps in those younger than age 25.
  • Papilloma. This type of wart-like lump grows near the nipple. Those who have a papilloma may experience clear or bloody nipple discharge.
  • Mastitis. This condition occurs when the breast tissue is inflamed, usually due to an infection. While it’s commonly related to breastfeeding, it can occur in women at other times and may cause swelling around the milk ducts, pain and redness.

Aside from these common causes of noncancerous breast lumps, sometimes breast tissue can simply thicken and have the appearance and feel of a lump. This is why it’s important to know what your breasts look and feel like, so you can spot changes.

While a lump in the breast isn’t always cancer, it’s important to have it checked out! The Cancer Center at Magnolia has the screenings and diagnostic tests you need for peace of mind.

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center