If you feel a lump in your breast, do not panic. Most lumps are not breast cancer, but something less serious, such as a benign (not cancer) breast condition (learn more).
Some lumps will go away on their own. In younger women, lumps are often related to menstrual periods and will go away by the end of the cycle. However, if you find a lump (or any change in your breast or underarm area), it is best to see your health care provider to be sure it is not breast cancer.
Many women’s breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture. For some women, the lumpiness is more pronounced than for others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.
If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then it is probably normal breast tissue.
Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) or that feel like a change are a concern and should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition (such as a cyst or fibroadenoma).
See your health care provider if you:
If you are unsure whether you should have a lump (or any change) checked, it is best to see a provider. Although a lump (or any change) may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind that it has been checked.
Learn more about benign breast conditions.
Liquid leaking from your nipple (nipple discharge) can be troubling, but it is rarely a sign of breast cancer. Discharge can be your body's natural reaction when the nipple is squeezed.
Signs of a more serious condition (such as breast cancer) include discharge that:
Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or other condition that needs treatment. If you have any nipple discharge, see a health care provider right away.
You may see or feel other changes in your breasts. See your health care provider if you notice any of these warning signs of breast cancer (see pictures) [14,41-42]:
Pain in your breasts may be related to your menstrual period. However, if the pain does not go away, don't ignore it. Although pain is rarely a sign of breast cancer, it is best to see your provider to be sure.
Learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer.
Learn more about breast cancer diagnosis.
If you do not have a health care provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend. If that is not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital.
Learn more about finding a health care provider.
Facts for Life: When You Discover a Lump
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