Do All Breast Lumps Mean Breast Cancer? Understanding Breast Changes?

Breast lumps have a bad reputation to say the least. They instantly invoke fears of deadly disease, of long sessions of chemo ending in debility and hair loss, or surgery and excruciating pain.

However, not every woman who has a breast lump detected needs to fear the worst. Many breast lumps are benign and could mean a number of different things; other than cancer.

In fact, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are non cancerous and happen for a reason other than cancer.The fact is that breasts undergo changes for a number of reasons and from time to time.

It isn’t just pregnancy and breast feeding that cause breast to undergo changes, even one’s regular menstrual period causes breasts to undergo changes.

Breast lumps may appear in the form of small cysts that are hormonal in origin. These could be due to blocked milk ducts.

Fibrocystic breast disease is the name given to the presence of breast lumps or tenderness and swelling, most of which are benign conditions.

In fact, there is some argument in the medical community about this terminology, since many object to the term ‘disease’ being associated with the condition. It is argued that this is a benign condition caused by hormonal changes including menstruation and menopause.

However, on the other side of the coin is the argument that fibrocystic breast disease/ condition is a precursor to cancer. This is true if the biopsy of the breast lump indicates the presence of abnormality or malignancy.

Benign Breast Lumps: There are a number of reasons for the appearance of benign or non cancerous breast lumps which may be in the form of cysts or fibroadenomas. These can be commonly occurring in many pre-menstrual women.

And abscess or inflammation could often be the underlying cause for what feels like a breast lump. An infection of or inflammation in the nipple, also known as periductal mastitis, is commonly found to be present among smokers.

Sometimes the lump may be a result of an injury to the breast. A hamartoma is an excessive growth in a small area of breast tissue that is otherwise normal. Sometimes a lump may be composed of fat cells.

Benign breast lump can be identified by any changes in the size or shape of the breasts. Any dimpling, reddening or puckering of the skin could also be a sign.

Feel for any thickened feeling or lumpiness in the breast tissue if there is any change in the appearance or feeling of the nipple. If perhaps it is inverted or different in any way, it could also be a symptom of a breast lump.

Any changes in the armpit such as swelling or a lump may also be regarded the same way as a breast lump. If there is any unusual discharge from the nipple, particularly bloodstained discharge then this is also a symptom of a breast lump.

All the situations are not necessarily anything to worry about; however, it is only wise to speak to the doctor about this the next time you visit.