Checking your breasts is a womanly duty to make sure your health is in check, and it’s definitely up there with ugh-worthy things like the phrase ‘womanly duty’ and getting period cramps. But if you’ve ever checked your breasts for lumps (we know, we know it’s not the best feeling) and found something off about how they feel, the last thing you should do is run to your URL bar and type in WebMD, or dare we say, Google it! Read on to learn about 9 lumps that aren’t breast cancer and what you can do about them.
1. Breast Abscesses
This type of breast lump can occur when you breastfeed. It’s a red, painful lump that feels like it’s radiating heat in the area. Much like other infections, the area is warm to the touch. An abscess can be caused by bacteria in the baby’s mouth getting into the breast tissue while you breastfeed.
Treatment: An abscess is a site where a pocket full of pus occurs and it can happen anywhere on the body. In order to get rid of the abscess, your doctor will numb you and may use a syringe to pull the pus out of the area.
2. Adenoma of the Breast
Is the lump you found small, rigid and located right under your nipple? Chances are you have an Adenoma of the breast. This marble-sized lump is formed by glandular cells (the cells that produce milk during breastfeeding), which are located right behind the nipple.
Treatment: A core biopsy allows your doc to tell if the lump is benign. Luckily, because they are so small in size, they are usually removed.
3. Phyllodes Tumor
If the lump you find is moving under the skin when you massage it, and feels firm and round you may have a Phyllodes tumor. This occurs in women around 30-40 years of age. Most of these lumps are benign, however around 10 percent can be cancerous.
Treatment: These malignant tumors are unlikely to spread in the body. To treat, they’re usually removed surgically and tested for cancer.
4. Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis, also known as hardened fat, can be found in the breast after major bruising. A common reason for this to occur is if you have been in a traffic accident and your seatbelt inflicted major bruising. The lump will feel hard and appears on or around a heavily bruised area.
Treatment: On a mammogram, this type of lump can appear as cancer, so your best bet is to receive a core biopsy. Once confirmed as fat and not cancerous, the lump will be left to gradually disappear, which can take years.
A Fibroadenoma is an oval-shaped lump that will move under the skin when touched. These lumps feel like a clump of small, hard peas. They usually occur in women from 20-30 years of age, and is formed when a gland clumps with connective breast tissue. If you have ‘sensitive’ breast tissue, a slight hormonal change in your body can trigger the growth of a fibroadenoma.
Treatment: Because these lumps don’t have any risk of being cancerous, they’re usually left alone. Unless they become painful or unsightly, women tend to forgo having them removed.
6. A Breast Cyst
If you find a sore, squishy lump that appeared suddenly in the breast, you could have a breast cyst. Common in women from 40-60 years old, this pocket of fluid can form overnight – mostly due to hormonal changes that occur in your body at that particular point in life.
Treatment: As it is not always cancerous, most women leave them be. Others will opt to having the fluid drained. Since it is a painful process, it’s best to choose a treatment within after seeing how the cyst reacts after a few months.
7. A Lipoma
If you find a small lump around 1-2cm in size, that is squishy to the touch and moves under your skin, it may be a lipoma. This type of abnormality in the breast is unrelated to weight, but it is signified by a clump of fat cells under the skin. They are painless, soft and squishy.
Treatment: A small lipoma is generally harmless, but the moment they grow and cause discomfort and pain, your treatment option is to have it drained under local anesthetic.
8. A Hamartoma
A soft lump that is no bigger than 5-6 cm across could be a benign, aggressive growth of tissue. This lump occurs in women of any age, and can even be found on other organs in your body. It tends to be genetic, but not noticeable unless it’s at the surface of your body or leads to discomfort.
Treatment: It’s advised to leave this type of lump alone, unless they become very large and painful. If you choose to have it removed it will have to be done surgically.
Though men don’t usually have the same physical features as women, they can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. If a man finds a knobbly disc of tissue behind the nipple, it’s likely gynecomastia. These lumps are more commonly known as ‘man breasts’. They can be 2-10 cm. in size. They are initially tender and are caused by a minor hormonal imbalance.
Treatment: The treatment used during the tender period is the drug tamoxifen. But, they can always be surgically removed if they are too big or painful. Give it one year to disappear if surgery just isn’t for you!
Have you ever found a breast lump? Have you checked yourself or had a doctor check this year? Share what motivated you in a comment below!