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A breast lump is a localized swelling, protuberance, bulge, or bump that feels different from the breast tissue around it or the breast tissue in the same area of the other breast. There are different kinds of lumps and there are a number of reasons why you may have one.
Lumps can be soft and small like a “gummy candy”, or slightly moving or hard like a “seed”. Some lumps feel as though they have a distinct border, while others may feel like a general area of thickened tissue.
Not all lumps are cancerous
Most women have some lumpy areas in their breasts and nearly 80% of lumps are not cancerous. Lumps of various sizes may appear in the breasts from time to time. Benign lumps in the breast can be caused by an injury, a benign breast condition, infections, or normal hormonal changes. They don't require surgery.
Some of the most common causes of breast lumps
Fibroadenomas are the most common benign lumps. If you push on them, they are solid, round, rubbery lumps that move freely. They’re usually painless. Women between 18 and 35 are most likely to get them. These benign lumps usually do not become cancerous.They’re also more common in African-American women.
Fibrocystic changes may occur due to changes in hormones during your menstrual cycle. You could get lumps in both breasts that increase in size and tenderness just before your period. They enlarge quickly in response to hormones released near your period. The lumps may be hard or rubbery and could feel like a single (large or small) lump. Fibrocystic changes can also cause breast tissue to thicken. You might have nipple discharge as well.
A simple cyst is a noncancerous, fluid-filled sac in the breast. It usually feels smooth and rubbery under the skin. Cysts can vary in size. Their tenderness and size often change with your menstrual cycle. Some breast cysts may be painless, while others are quite painful. There are many possible causes of breast cysts: namely they may develop in response to menstruation-related hormones.
A lipoma is a soft, rubbery bulge under your skin, usually less than 2 inches (5cm) wide. Sometimes, more than one may develop. They happen when a lump of fat starts to grow in the soft tissue of your breasts. If a lipoma hurts or you don’t like the way it looks, you might want to have it removed.
What to do next?
See your doctor. Women with a breast lump need to have further examination as prescribed by their doctor.
Remember to do the self-breast exam every month on 7-10 days into your menstrual cycle. It will help you to spot any changes in the breast tissue structure. BSE helps you to learn more about your body and detect any possible changes.