During a regular self-examination of the breast, if women discover a hard lump, they tend to panic, as it could be a sign of breast cancer. However, the fact is that not all hard lumps that form inside the breasts are cancerous. Also, almost 80 percent of breast lumps are non-cancerous in nature. These benign lumps can be found in one or both breasts.
Various Causes and Characteristics
Here are the various types of lumps in breast and their special features that can help to identify whether it is harmful or not.
These are the most common form of harmless breast lump. They are firm and solid to touch and round in shape. Their size is same as that of a small plum and they do not give any painful symptoms. These are formed when there is an increase in the production of breast tissues that surround the milk producing glands. It mostly occurs in women in their 20s and 30s
Fibrocystic Breast Changes
This is a harmless condition triggered by hormonal fluctuations that takes place during menstruation or menopause. Here, the fibrous tissues of the breasts multiply randomly because of hormonal changes resulting in painful lumps in the breast. They are found as a single lump in both breasts. Its size and tenderness increases just before the menstrual cycle. It is found in women who are in the age group of 35 to 50.
One or more number of oval or round-shaped cysts of varying sizes can be found in the breast of menopausal women. The formation of such cysts are also often associated with hormonal changes. A unique feature of these benign cysts are that they appear just a couple of weeks before the menstrual cycle and disappear on their own after the cycle is over. Presence of these symptoms causes considerable amount of breast pain.
This causes a hard lump near the nipple. Its size is as small as a wart and is formed in the lining of the mammary duct. Women above the age of 50, often get such small lump in their breast. Usually, it is not harmful. However, when it leads to watery discharge from the nipple, then it could be a cause of concern and should be diagnosed properly.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that forms due to the abnormal growth of the breast tissues. It can be identified as a hard lump of irregular shape and rough surface. Its size can be as large as a golf ball and it does not move when you press it. The most common locations of these tumors are upper surface of the breast, armpit region, and deep within the breast near the chest wall.
One of the main reason behind lumps in the breast while breastfeeding is clogged milk duct. Even though it is not a serious issue, it should be addressed immediately, as it may lead to breast infection. Older women may also get breast infection due to inflammation of the milk ducts. Traumatic injury to the breast tissues during an accident or surgery may be responsible for hard lump in breast that hurts. It consists of scar tissue which is firm, regular in shape, and is movable.
Any abnormal lump detected in the breast should be taken seriously. One should monitor its shape, size, and symptoms very closely. If one finds any change, it must be informed to the concerned doctor. Doctors first conduct physical examination of the affected person and study the symptoms. If required, they may opt for laboratory tests like mammogram and ultrasound to ascertain the cause and treat the affected person accordingly. Fibroadenoma lumps usually disappear on its own. In some rare cases, where the symptoms are disturbing, it is removed surgically.
Fibrocystic breast changes do not require any treatment. However, doctors may recommend oral contraceptives or hormonal tablets to control the painful symptoms. Simple cysts in breast are often flattened by draining out the fluid with the help of a needle. Breast infection is mostly treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines. There are a number of therapies that can be used for breast cancer treatment. They include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone suppression therapy.
On observation of the aforementioned symptoms, it is always better to consult the doctor. He/she would help with the right guidance for the next course of action.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.