What to do if you find a breast lump. Answered!


To begin with, don’t panic if you find a lump or change in your breast. It is common for women of all ages to find lumps and bumps in their breasts. The majority will turn out to be benign.

Breast lumps happen for many reasons. Lumps can be hard, smooth, soft, or round. Most of the time, a breast lump doesn’t mean you have breast cancer. There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.

Treatment for a breast lump depends on the cause. Some lumps don’t require any treatment.

Causes of breast lumps

Causes of breast lumps include:

  • Fibrocystic changes: Tiny, fluid-filled sacs and fibrous (rubbery) tissue can feel like a lump.
  • Breast cysts: Fluid-filled sacs can form when fluid becomes trapped in your milk ducts. Cysts are common in people who haven’t experienced menopause.
  • Fibroadenomas: This benign (noncancerous) lump is the most common breast tumor in younger women and people assigned female at birth (in their 20s and 30s). Your provider may recommend ultrasounds and clinical exams to check on fibroadenomas.
  • Phyllodes tumor: A tumor that occurs in your breast’s connective tissue.
  • Breast calcifications: Very large benign calcium deposits (usually following a breast reduction or tissue flap procedure) can feel like a large hard lump.
  • Breast infection: An infection in the breast tissue can cause a localized area of hardened tissue. A breast abscess can also form (a firm, discrete lump filled with pus due to infection).
  • Breast cancer: A tumor growing in the breast tissue causes a lump.

Physical Examination of Breast Changes.

If you see a change in appearance and feel of your breast it is important to get a good physical exam from either your primary doctor or gynecologist. That means your doctor should do more than just feel the lump in your breast. Make sure they do a full exam of the breast, including around the collarbone and underneath the armpit. Your doctor should also examine your skin and nipples to look for any changes, and, compare your breasts side by side, and note any asymmetries.

During your exam, you’ll also want to tell your doctor some additional details, including:

  • When and how did you find the lump?
  • If you’ve noticed any other changes, like nipple discharge or a change in your breast’s color or texture.
  • If you have ever had an injury to your breast.
  • What hormones, medications, or supplements you are taking?
  • Your family’s history of breast cancer or other cancers.

How are breast lumps treated?

Treatment for a breast lump depends on the cause. Some lumps don’t require any treatment.

Breast lump treatment includes:

  • Antibiotics for a breast infection.
  • Fluid drainage for a breast cyst (if it’s large or painful).
  • Biopsy to further characterize a mass (if it’s suspicious for cancer, painful, or getting larger).
  • Cancer treatment if the lump is biopsy-proven breast cancer. Cancer therapies may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

What kind of breast lump should I worry about?

Breast tissue is naturally lumpy.

Call your healthcare provider if you notice:

  • An unusual lump or mass in your breast or under your arm that feels harder than the rest of your breast or is different on one side compared to the other.
  • Other breast changes, including nipple inversion (turning inward), dimpled skin, or bloody/clear nipple discharge.
  • Redness, pain, or tenderness in your breast.
  • Nipple changes, such as scaling.
    Breast lumps have many causes. Most of the time, they’re not cancer. If you feel a lump or any other change in your breast, talk to your healthcare provider. They can figure out the cause of the lump and if you need treatment. Don’t put off taking care of your breast health. If the lump is cancer, treatment is most successful if started early.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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