Breast lumps

Find a symptom by its first letter

Definition

A breast lump is a growth of tissue that develops within your breast. Different types of breast lumps can vary in the way they look and feel. You may perceive a lump as a mass, growth, swelling, thickness or fullness.

You might notice:

A distinct lump with definite borders
A firm, hard area within your breast
A thickened, slightly more prominent area in your breast that’s different from surrounding breast tissue
Other breast changes, such as redness, dimpling or pitting of the skin
One breast that’s noticeably larger than the other
Nipple changes, such as a nipple that’s pulled inward or spontaneous fluid discharge from your nipple
Persistent breast pain or tenderness, which might increase during your menstrual period
Sometimes, a breast lump is a sign of breast cancer. That’s why you should seek prompt medical evaluation. Fortunately, however, most breast lumps result from noncancerous (benign) conditions

Causes

Breast lumps can be caused by:

  • Breast cancer
  • Breast cysts fluid-filled sacs in your breast that are usually benign
  • Fibroadenoma a solid, benign mass most common in young women
  • Fibrocystic breasts lumpy or rope-like breast tissue
  • Injury or trauma to the breast
  • Intraductal papilloma a benign, wartlike growth in a milk duct
  • Lipoma a slow-growing, doughy mass that’s usually harmless
  • Mastitis an infection in breast tissue that most commonly affects women who are breast-feeding
  • Milk cyst (galactocele) a milk-filled cyst that’s usually harmless

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