A breast lump is a growth of tissue that develops in the breast. Finding a lump in your breast can cause fear and anxiety. Most breast lumps are not dangerous, but it is important to see your doctor to evaluate the lump as soon as possible.
The breast tissue normally feels lumpy or fibrous and you may feel pain on palpation that comes and goes with your menstrual period.
If you have an underlying breast disease, you may notice changes in the way your breasts normally feel, like for example:
- A round, smooth, firm lump on the breast.
- A large, solid lump that moves easily under the skin.
- A hard, irregular-shaped lump on the breast.
- Skin that is red or dented, like an orange.
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast.
- Leaking fluid from the nipple.
The lumps in the breasts can be a product of:
- Breast Cysts. If you find a lump in your breast and feel that it is round, soft, and firm, it could be a cyst, a dilated milk duct filled with fluid. A breast cyst may be large or small, and the surrounding breast tissue may be tender. A breast cyst may appear before the menstrual cycle and become smaller or disappear after the cycle ends.
- Fibrocystic breast changes. With fibrocystic breast changes, you may feel that your breast is clogged with lumpy or rough areas. You may feel that your breasts are tender. Many women experience fibrocystic breast changes related to their menstrual cycles that tend to improve after the menstrual cycle.
- Fibroadenomas. Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous breast tumors that are soft and move easily under the skin when touched. A fibroadenoma can become enlarged. Factors that may be associated with fibroadenoma growth include pregnancy, use of hormone therapy, or menstruation.
- Injuries and infections. Severe injury to the breast tissue or nearby nerves can create a lump in the breast. Doctors describe this disease as fat necrosis. An accumulation of infected fluid (abscess) in the breast tissue can also cause a lump in the breast, which is often associated with localized breast pain and swelling of the skin.
- Breast cancer. A lump in the breast that does not hurt, is hard, has an irregular shape, and is different from the surrounding breast tissue could be breast cancer. The skin that covers the lump may look red, dimpled, or depressed, like the skin of an orange. The size and shape of the breast may change, or you may notice nipple discharge.
Just consulting your doctor for an evaluation can assure you what kind of tests you might need and what kind of tumor you might have in your breast.