Spotting a visible lump in the breast is any woman’s worst nightmare. A lump in the breast is a growth or swelling that is distinctive from the breast tissues around. These lumps can appear at any age and are quite common. Not every lump is a sign of danger. A vast majority of these lumps are non-cancerous.
Types of Breast Lumps
There are several types of lumps and all of them fall under two broad categories. These lumps are identified as benign or malignant. Benign lumps are non-cancerous and they are just a sign of abnormal growth of breast tissues. Malignant lumps are cancerous and they can grow and spread to the neighbouring tissues. The different types of lumps are as follows.
Cysts are common benign lumps and they usually do not appear after menopause. They are generally round or oval in shape.
They are commonly the size of a grape and they feel like bags filled with fluid. In certain cases, cysts can also be hard to feel. These lumps vanish by themselves and they do not require any kind of treatment.
These lumps are also benign and are associated with the hormonal changes in the body. They appear as thickened lumps that are tender. These lumps can move a little when pressed. Fibrocystic lumps are occasionally accompanied by slight pain. In the presence of such a lump, the outer area of your breasts feels fuller.
Fibroadenomas are thick, solid lumps that are rubbery in nature. These lumps are formed due to excess growth of connective tissues and glandular tissues in the breast.
These lumps are benign and are plum sized. They are painless and a minor movement of the lump can be noticed when pressed. They are common in women in the age group of 20 to 40.
These benign lumps are formed as a result of an injury. Fat necrosis lumps commonly occur after a surgery. They are lumps of the scar tissue; round in shape, firm and movable in nature. Fat necrosis lumps are painful if the injury is fresh. Once the injury subsides, these lumps become painless and heal naturally.
Lipomas are soft tissue growths that are thin and fibrous. This benign lump involves the adipose tissue of the breast. They are lumps of the fat cells that appear between the skin and muscle of the breasts. They feel soft and are movable. They are generally small and painless and are commonly found in middle aged women and older women.
Papillomas are also non-cancerous breast lumps. These lumps are found in the mammary glands. They always occur in close proximity to the nipples and are very small in size.
The presence of papillomas is accompanied by a discharge from the nipples that can be clear or cloudy.
Mastitis is an infection of the breast that occurs due to the entry of bacteria into the breast tissues. The bacteria gain entry through cuts or wounds in the breast. These lumps are benign, painful and are common in women who breastfeed. The area of the skin overlying the lump is often red in colour. These lumps usually disappear after treatment with the right antibiotics.
Phyllodes are lumps that occur in the connective tissue of the breast. They have a rapid growth and are large in size. These lumps are benign and painless. However, in rare cases, they are found to be cancerous.
Cancerous lumps are irregular in shape and they feel hard. These lumps do not move and they have uneven edges. Their size varies and the skin overlying the lump is red and pitted.
Any kind of lump requires a detailed examination by a medical practitioner. Even if biopsy is suggested, do not panic; as a good majority of lumps that are biopsied are non-cancerous.