Lumps in the Breast: Possible Causes and Action to Take
Many women fear finding a lump in their breast because they automatically assume that it will be related to breast cancer. In reality, women’s breasts change over time and at some point most women will feel something in their breast that may not have been there before. There are many possible causes for lumps in the breast, though any new lump should be monitored and reported to a doctor.
Anatomy of the BreastWith so many different components to the breast there is the possibility that a lump could form in almost any part of the breast. This is why women who do feel something unusual in their breast should not immediately assume that a cancerous growth is responsible.
Possible Causes of Lumps in the BreastThere are many possible causes of lumps in the breast. For some women, lumps become cyclical as related to their menstrual period. For others, an infection of the breast may result in an abscess that feels lumpy. For still others, benign cysts could be the cause of lumps. Breast cancer may also result in a growth in the breast that feels like a lump.
Discovering Lumps in the BreastWomen’s breasts are all different, so it is important for each woman to understand what her own breasts normally feel like so that she will be able to easily recognise any changes or lumps should they occur. The best way for a woman to become familiar with her breasts is to carry out monthly breast self exams. By consistently observing and feeling her own breasts, a woman will be able to keep track of any patterns of changes (such as those related to the menstrual cycle) and any changes that are not related to a consistent pattern. Keeping a diary or notes of a monthly breast self exam is a good idea.
Actions to Take Regarding Lumps in the BreastIf a lump is detected in the breast, women should call their GPs immediately. It would be expected that your GP would perform his or her own clinical breast exam, though even if a lump is found at this time the GP may ask the woman to return in a week for another exam. This would be simply so that the GP can determine if the lump is cyclical in nature. If the lump is still there upon re-examination then further testing may be recommended. Mammograms, ultrasounds, aspirations and biopsies are just a few of the methods by which a doctor may investigate a breast lump.
Finding lumps in the breast can be scary, but women should remain calm and remember that there could be many reasons that a lump has developed in their breasts. Reporting the lump to a doctor immediately is the best course of action to take so that each woman’s case can be specifically investigated and diagnosed.