Don’t start to panic when you feel a lump or bump in your breast. The good news is nine out of 10 breast lumps aren’t cancerous. It’s normal for breasts to feel lumpy, which is due to normal changes in breast tissue. Benign breast lumps do not necessarily require any treatment, although treatment may be recommended if the lump is particularly large, is getting bigger, or is causing other symptoms such as pain.
Medication can often help relieve breast pain, and antibiotics can treat any bacterial infections that may have caused the lump to develop. In some cases, a needle may be required to drain away any fluid or pus within the breast lump. Local anaesthetic will be used to numb the area so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. Occasionally, surgery may be required to remove the lump. This is usually a day surgery with you under general anaesthetic.
Different Types Of Breast Lumps And What To Do If You Spot One:
A single lump that’s hard on the outside, squishy on the inside.
What it is: This is usually a cyst. It feels like a solid, oval-shaped mass and typically occurs as a distinct, solitary lump. It’s important to have a cyst diagnosed to ensure that it is not a breast cancer lump.
Tender, lumpy breasts
What it is: Painful, lumpy breasts may occur about 14 days before your period. This can also be triggered by stress, or the consumption of excess salt or caffeine.
A firm, unmovable hard lump in the breast with redness
What it is: Known as mastitis or breast abscess, a hard lump in the breast with redness over it cold mean you have a deep infection. This is especially if it is accompanied with breast pain and fever. See a doctor!
A small, solid round lump that can be moved
What it is: It is likely a fibroadenoma, a benign and usually painless condition. It commonly appears as a single lump that feels like a small rubber ball inside the breast tissue and can be easily moved around. Arrange for a biopsy to determine if it’s benign.
What Can You Do If You Feel A Lump?
Don’t risk it – ask your gynaecologist for a clinical breast exam and consider a diagnostic mammogram and/or ultrasound. All lumps should be carefully monitored for changes, as fibrocystic breasts put you at increased risk of breast cancer. Be diligent about regular self-exams and yearly clinical exams. Report any changes immediately to your doctor.
How To Check Yourself?
Three positions to give you different angles to inspect:
Standing before a mirror
- Examine your breasts with your arms up, down and resting on your hips.
- Look out for any signs of dimpling, puckering or change in skin texture.
In The Shower
- Use three or four fingers of your right hand to explore your left breast thoroughly, working around the breast in a circular motion.
- Squeeze your nipples for any discharge.
- Instead of examining your breasts in the shower, do it lying down.
- Remember to check under your nipples as well.
This article was written by Pameline Kang, and published in the August 2016 issue of Singapore’s Child.