Breast Lumps Symptoms and Treatment

Breast LumpsSome women naturally have ”lumpy” breasts, which is a consequence of tissue composition and is usually no cause for concern. If a new lump develops in the breasts, it is probably due to one of the possible five causes. The first thing is the cyst, a sac filled with fluid. The second cause is the infection, and the lump is usually accompanied by other symptoms (see mastitis article for additional information on symptoms and treatment). The third cause is fibroadenosis, i.e. thickening of the glandular tissue in which the milk is produced. The fourth cause is a benign tumor. (None of these 4 causes is dangerous to health.) Finally, the fifth (possible) cause is a malignant tumor (cancer).

Symptoms

A new lump in the breast should not cause any problems, so you may not even notice it until you look at the breast. However, sometimes the lump may be somewhat sensitive to the touch (or even painful), and often just before the menstruation.

What to do?

Check your breast every month so you can quickly detect a new lump. If you find a new breast lump, whether it is painful or not, go to the doctor immediately (the same day or the next day). You should also go to the doctor if you notice any changes on the lumps you’ve always had – for example, if it becomes painful, hard or bigger. Your doctor will examine you and most likely refer you to the specialist. Depending on the results of the examination, the specialist will refer you to diagnostic tests to determine the presence of the disease and its cause, e.g. mammography, thermography and biopsy.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the nature of the lump. If it is a cyst, the doctor will drain the liquid with the needle and syringe. The procedure is simple (you may not even need local anesthesia for it) and it usually solves the problems. However, you will need to go to a regular examinations for about two years, because the lump (cyst) can re-appear.

If the lump is the result of thickening of breast tissue (fibroadenosis), the treatment does not matter. However, if the lump is sensitive to the touch or painful, your doctor may prescribe tablets with sexual hormones (e.g. contraceptive pill) or medicines that affect the hormonal balance. Besides that. the doctor will probably recommend you to wear a firm bra.

If diagnostic tests show that the lump is a result of a tumor, you will have to go to the hospital for surgery, i.e. removal of the tumor. The type of surgery depends on the nature of the tumor. If it is a benign tumor, it is usually enough to remove the tumor itself, and you will need to stay at the hospital for a few days. After the operation, you will have to go to control for approximately two years. As for the treatment of malignant tumors, see breast cancer article.