Breast lumps can be observed in women of any ages due to the hormonal changes a body undergoes. Not all lumpy formations in the breast are malignant nor do they raise the chances of breast cancer. Most of these lumps are benign, which very often come and go in natural process as the breast tissue responds to the hormonal changes. In some cases surgical operations may be required to remove those lumps. Only a professional can detect the lump and judge their nature through different types of tests, and this helps in raising the awareness of breast cancer among women.
A brief overview of the types of breast lumps and the reasons behind their formation can be summarized as below –
Fibrocystic Changes – These changes occur in women in her reproductive years and can occur in either or both the breasts. These changes in the breast tissue are normal and are non cancerous. Proper interpretation is necessary to affirm its benign nature. Small cysts are formed due to blockage of the secretion ducts. The breasts feel tender and the lumpiness increases with the approach of menopause. These can be treated by reducing the caffeine intake or by taking some painkillers and contraceptives.
Fibro Adenomas – This type of lump is also benign in mature and generally occur in women of the age group 20-30 and those who are pregnant. Excessive growth in the glandular and connective tissue results in these lumps. These lumps are round, firm, rubbery and painless, the size being like that of a small sized plum. It may go away of its own or removed by surgery. Mammogram and biopsy can confirm its benign nature.
Cysts – These occur in women those who are approaching menopause, due to hormonal fluctuations. The breast ducts get dilated creating sacs filled with fluids. These are painful oval shaped lumps, firm and move slightly when pressed. These appear two weeks prior to period and subsides after the period. These are treated by inserting needles in the breasts and by draining out the fluid.
Breast Infection – Lumps are also formed on the breasts during breast feeding if any bacterial infection occurs in the breast tissue. This condition is known as mastitis and the lump develops into an abscess. These are generally treated by antibiotics.
Older women after menopause can develop periductal mastitis caused due to the inflammation of the milk ducts. Lumps are painful followed by discharge from nipple or the nipple gets retracted. If this condition does not respond to antibiotics then further investigations related to inflammatory breast cancer may be required.
Phyllodes Tumor – Generally benign in nature, these tumors can be cancerous in rare cases. These are formed in the connective tissues of the breasts and are usually painless. It may require surgical removal and needle biopsy to analyze for breast cancer.