Breast Lumps: What it means & Why you should Check.

Breast Lump

Have You noticed any Breast Lump (something palpable & hard felt inside your breast)- This is for you.

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What You Should Know About Breast Lumps

Breast lumps are solid palpable mass that you can feel with your fingers in any or both of the breasts. It may be as small as a bean size, & may grow to the size of an orange. These lumps can be found in both male and female breast, but it is more common in the females.

The size & shape of the human breast can change from time to time based on the requirements at different times. Example, the breast changes if the woman is pregnant or breast feeding. The breasts are affected by the changes in the hormones of a woman. These hormonal changes can lead to formation of lumps in the breast and in some cases it can also make it disappear naturally.

You may find breast lumps in some babies due to the estrogen which enters their body from their mother during childbirth. These type of lumps usually disappear when the estrogen leaves the babies’ body.

Is Finding a Breast Lump Important?

A lump or mass in the breast is a very important clinical finding in the life of any woman or man. Many things can cause a lump in the breasts. Some lumps are cancerous, others are not.

What Can Cause Breast Lumps?

There are a number of conditions that can result in Breast Lump such as: Breast Cysts, Fibroadenomas (A fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous tumor in the breast that is commonly found in women under the age of 30), Mastitis (Infection), Lipoma, Breast Abscess, Breast Cancer, etc.

Today, we are going to be talking about Breast Cancers (Read about it here).

Do I Need to See a Doctor?

Upon noticing a lump in any of the breasts, no matter how small, it is important for you to book an appointment with your doctor (particularly your Gynaecologist) for examination & investigation to determine if the lump can lead to cancer or not. As easy as it sounds, this simple test might be the difference between living for 50 years+ or just living for 30 years.

What Test Would I Have to Undergo?

Breast exam: Upon visiting your doctor, both of your breasts would be examined for lumps, as well as lymph nodes in the armpit, for any other abnormalities.

FNAC/Biopsy: A Fine Needle Aspiration (a needle would be passed through your breast to get to the lump, and suck what is inside the lump) of the lump would be taken & the sample sent for cytology. This would determine if the lump can lead to Cancer or not. Biopsy samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis where experts determine whether the cells are cancerous, the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer.

Example of Fine Needle Aspiration in Progress.

Ultrasound: you might also be sent for an ultrasound to determine again if the cells are cancerous or just a cyst.

Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast.

Is the Test Painful?

The FNAC test involves sticking a needle through your breast, hence, its just as painful as a needle stick.

So If it is not Cancer, What Else could It be?

Well, there are other conditions that could cause you to have a lump in your breast as we earlier mentioned. A few of them includes: Fibroadenoma of the Breast, it could be a cyst. It could be an Abscess.
However, a visit to your Gynaecologist would sort this out for you.

If you have any more questions, you could contact us with the forms here, or drop a comment and one of our doctors would get back to you as soon as possible.

How To do Breast Self Examination?

We recommend self-examination for all females who has attained puberty (developed breasts & seeing their monthly menstrual flow). You should occasionally press against your breast and feel it for any signs of lump or swelling. You could do this weekly. The aim is to detect it early. Follow these 3 Steps outline in these images courtesy of SKH:

Breast self examination step 1 at KKH
Breast self examination step 2 at KKH
Breast self examination step 3 at KKH

Dont Forget to Share This… The aim remains to Educate.. Early detection is the key to the solution.

Authors

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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