Breast Lumps in Women

In their lifetime, many women will experience lumps on their breasts. This for some can be a source of worry because they cannot immediately tell what the cause of the lump is.

As it is already known, the majority of breast lumps are no cause for concern as they are not cancer and can easily be taken care of. However, some breast lumps could signify cancer, so early diagnosis and treatment are important.

Causes of Breast lumps

There are many different causes of breast lumps and the majority of them are non-cancerous or benign. These are some of the common causes.

  • Cysts. These are small sacks which are filled with fluid or milk
  • Fibroadenoma. These are solid lumps
  • Lipoma. These are fat lumps

Although not as common as the non-cancerous lumps, breast cancer is a cause of breast lump that must not be ignored.

If you find a new lump or any unusual changes in your breasts, you should as a matter of urgency, see your doctor.

Breast self-examination

It is recommended that women perform regular self-examination on their breasts. As different women’s breasts feel different at different times of the month, it is important that you know what is normal for you. It is also important to note that the breasts extend into the armpit, so when you examine your breasts, you need to examine your armpits as well.

Things to look out for during a breast examination

  • Any new lump in the breast or armpit
  • Change in the skin of the breast, dimples, scars, dryness or scales
  • Abnormal nipple discharge or bloody discharge from the nipples
  • Ulcer or rash around the nipples
  • Inverted (turned-in) nipple 

If you find any of these changes, see your doctor who will examine you and may refer you or request any of these tests.

  • Mammography (X-ray examination of the breast)
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Biopsy. This involves taking tissue from the breast to test in the lab

Treatment

The treatment of breast lumps or other abnormalities of the breasts will depend on the type of abnormality. Lumps may need to be removed surgically and those filled with fluid may need to be drained.