Breast lumps: Causes, types, checking, and treatment

What is breast lump?

A breast lump is abnormal growth of tissue which develops within women’s breast. Most of the time it is noncancerous in nature. These lumps are smooth edged and move slightly when you push them.

Symptoms of breast lumps –

You may feel a distinct mass of flesh (tissue) within your breast

You can palpate firm and stiff structure within a border

Breast skin changes

Abnormal growth of either of breasts

Continuous breast pain which get enhanced in the time of menstruation

Causes of breast lumps

Changes in breast tissue

Breast infections like mastitis

Injury

Breast cancer

Breast cyst

Fibroadenoma

Fibrocystic breasts

Lipoma

Intraductal papilloma

Milk cyst i.e, galactocele

Types

Mainly it is of two types –

Non cancerous – most of the lumps are noncancerous(benign) in nature. It doesn’t harm the patient. And it gets cured with medicines.

Cancerous – it is found in rare cases. It accounts for 20% of cases. It is cancerous (malignant) in nature. And it doesn’t get cured with only medicines , it requires surgical intervention.

 

When to go for check ups

When you feel a firm or fixed lump within your breast

When lump is existing more than one month or so

When you can notice skin changes of breasts like crusting, dimpling, puckering

You may observe bloody discharge from your nipple

You may find your nipple is getting inverted

Lumps may spread towards armpits

Diagnostic Procedures

Before coming into the conclusion that you have breast lumps , your doctor may advise you to go for these diagnostic procedures –

 

Mammogram – basically it is the X-Ray of the breast tissues to find if there is any abnormality. If you have your previous mammogram report with you then you can show that to your doctor because it would be helpful for them to analyze the past report with present for better accuracy.

USG – it is also very helpful to investigate the disease.

MRI – this gives a clearer picture of breast tissues and helps to identify any deviation from the normal condition of the breast.

Fine needle aspiration – the fluid from the breast lump is collected with the help of a needle and if it is found to be cloudy or bloody in texture then it is used for further investigation.

Biopsy – biopsy is basically taking a tissue sample of any organ if it is suspected to be cancerous. For breast there are different types of biopsy can be performed ,

like –

fine-needle aspiration biopsy—a tissue sample is collected during a fine-needle aspiration

core needle biopsy— this procedure involves larger needles to get a tissue sample. An additional USG is accompanied with this procedure to get more clarity for the diagnosis.

vacuum-assisted biopsy—a probe with a vacuum is inserted into a small incision in the skin and a tissue sample is removed using an ultrasound for guidance

stereotactic biopsy—a mammogram takes images from different angles and a tissue sample is taken with a needle

surgical biopsy (excisional biopsy)—this procedure involves complete removal of the lumps along with the surrounding tissues.

surgical biopsy (incisional biopsy)—this procedure involves only removal of the lump part.

Treatments

If lumps form due to infection or cysts then through medicines or some procedures can help to intervene it. Otherwise it may require surgical correction to fix the problem. Depending upon the spread and condition of the lump surgeon takes decision.

Lumpectomy – this is a surgical intervention which involves removal of the lump particularly.

Mastectomy – this surgical procedure involves removal of the whole breast.

Chemotherapy – this procedure uses drugs to stop or control the growth of the cancer.

Radiation – this procedure uses radioactive rays or materials to remove the lumps if it is found to be cancerous.