A breast is made up of a lot of tissues which are interconnected to each other. Inside the fatty tissues of the breast, are milk ducts and milk glands. These increase or decrease as and when they are required. A breast lump can form in any of these tissues. Some of these lumps may cause breast pain while some may not.
Many hormonal changes take place during menstruation in a woman. Breast lump can be the result of such hormonal changes. This kind of lump is temporary, but may be painful. It disappears once the menstruation cycle is over, only to reappear before the next cycle.
Women who have crossed 40 years of age are susceptible to cysts in breasts. These cysts have nothing to do with the menstruation cycle. These kinds of cysts appear less frequently, but are somewhat cyclic in nature and are one of the causes. Such a lump hurts and needs to be treated though it is not cancerous.
Mastitis is a type of infection of the breast tissue, which happens mainly due to breastfeeding. This infection can lead to a breast lump with painful inflammation and increase in temperature of the breast. This infection is caused due to bacterial infestation and needs to be treated. However, this lump is also not cancerous.
Breast cancer is the most dangerous cause of lump in breasts. The lump which is formed when a person suffers from breast cancer is malignant in nature. The cancer may develop due to certain changes in DNA of the woman during the course of her life. There are certain chemicals in the DNA that control the reproduction and division of cells in our body. When there are changes in the DNA, the control that it has on the cells might get mutated, and this in turn, may cause cancer. The lumps formed due to fibroid breast tumors (a type of breast cancer) are potentially dangerous and need to be treated in time to avoid further complications.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The most important symptom is that the person can feel the breast lumps on self-examination. These lumps could be round or oval in shape, may be hard or soft, and will cause pain when touched. The other symptoms include pain, redness in the area, inflammation in the area, an increase in the temperature of the breast, tenderness in the area, and swelling in the breast. These symptoms are accompanied with fever and body ache. These can also be early symptoms of breast cancer. Sometimes there are periods of unexplained fatigue too. At times, the person might feel a shooting pain in breast too. If a person notices any of these symptoms, it is necessary to go to a physician for physical examination.
A mammogram and an ultrasound will help the doctor to diagnose the condition and decide the right course of treatment. A biopsy may be needed in some cases. Apart from this, the doctor may ask the person to take some other tests too. Based on the test results, the course of treatment and medications required will be decided.
Once the causes of the lumps are ascertained, it becomes easy for the doctor to decide the course of treatment. In case of breast cancer, surgery might be an option along with chemotherapy and radiation. A hormone suppression therapy and mastectomy are other treatment options. Mastectomy is the partial or complete removal of breast.
In cases where the lump is a big one, partial removal of the breast can help get rid of the problem. Alternatively, lumpectomy can be opted for. The procedure, in this case, is the removal of the tissues with the lump along with some surrounding healthy tissues. This removal of the healthy tissues is a protection against the lumps forming again. Medications will also be prescribed along with these treatments.
If you observe any breast lumps, consult a doctor immediately. Get all the diagnostic tests done in time to start the treatment as early as possible since a delay may lead to further complications.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.