If you feel a lump in your breast, do not panic. Most lumps are not breast cancer, but something less serious, like a benign breast condition (more on benign breast conditions).
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, it is best to see your health care provider to be sure.
Many women’s breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture that varies from one woman to another. 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, it is likely just normal breast tissue.
Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast tissue (or the tissue of the other breast) or that feel like a change are a concern. This type of lump is more likely to be breast cancer, though some benign breast conditions (such as cysts and fibroadenomas) can cause similar changes. See your health care provider if you:
If you are unsure whether you should have a lump checked, it is best to see your provider. Although a lump may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind 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. However, the following may be signs of a more serious condition, such as breast cancer:
Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or other condition that needs medical treatment. For these reasons, if you have any nipple discharge, see your health care provider.
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) [52-55]:
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.
Learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer.
Learn more about breast cancer diagnosis.
Facts for Life: When You Discover a Lump
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