Does a Breast Lump Always Mean Cancer?
Most women are taught from a very early age that a breast lump is the most common warning sign of breast cancer. While this is true, it is also important to understand that not all breast lumps are cancerous. In fact, the majority can ultimately be traced to less serious causes, such as hormonal fluctuations, infections, simple cysts, fibroadenomas and intraductal papillomas. Therefore, if you feel a lump in your breast, you should promptly see a physician who can get to the bottom of it - but there is absolutely no need to panic.
Keep in mind that breast tissue tends to be naturally lumpy, and some women have lumpier breasts than others. Breast tissue can also change in texture throughout a woman’s life. According to the breast specialists in the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, the best preventive measure for every woman to take is to become familiar with the way her breasts look and feel, and the easiest way to do so is to perform a self-examination at the same time each month. Any change that stands out as being new or distinctly different from the rest of the breast tissue should be checked out.
More specifically, you should seek medical attention if you:
- Find a new lump or thickening in a breast or underarm area that feels different from the rest of the breast
- Find a new lump or thickening in a breast or underarm area that feels different from the other breast or underarm area
- Notice a change in the overall size, shape or contour of a breast
- Notice a change in the appearance or texture of an area of breast skin, such as dimpling, puckering, scaling or reddening
- Notice a change in the appearance of a nipple, such as inversion, creasing, scaling or reddening
- Notice that a breast feels in some way different than it did before
- Are uncertain or concerned for any other reason
At Moffitt, we understand that an individual who is facing the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and likely has a lot of questions. Our compassionate team offers a full range of the latest breast cancer screening and diagnostic techniques, and these services are complemented by individualized advice, effective treatment and compassionate support from a multispecialty group of medical professionals who are experienced in all aspects of breast cancer.
You are welcome to consult with the breast specialists at Moffitt Cancer Center with or without a referral. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment.