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Breast Lumps - Are they a cause of concern?

  By : , Chandigarh, India       20.7.2020         Mail Now

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.[1]

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[1]

Causes of breast lumps:

Changes in breast tissue
Breast infections like Mastitis
Breast cancer
Breast cyst
Fibrocystic breasts
Intraductal papilloma
Milk cyst i.e, galactocele[1]

Types of Breast Lumps:

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.[2]

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 [1]

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 analyse 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, different types of biopsy can be performed such as

- 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.[3]


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 surgeons 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. [3]


Mayoclinic.org, “https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/breast-lumps/basics/definition/sym-20050619">Breast lumps</a>” , Mayoclinic.org , 12th October, 2018
Webmd, "https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/benign-breast-lumps">Breast Lumps: Causes and When to Call a Doctor</a>” , Webmd , 2nd February, 2019
Healthline, “https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-lump#1">Breast Lumps</a>”, Healthline, 16th march,2018

TAGS: Breast lumps,   causes of breast lumps,   diagnostic procedures for breast lumps,  

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