Don’t Panic Yet: 6 Causes Of Lumps That Aren’t Breast Cancer

A health scare like cancer can be a life-altering experience. In fact, any health-related bad news helps us to see life in a different light than before. It affects not only us but our families too. It is our sacred duty to take as good a care we can take of our bodies because life is precious. So, it is imperative to handle even a minor health problem or a possibility of a disease seriously. Not taking the body’s needs seriously is indeed irresponsible behavior and is disrespecting God’s gift to us.

Finding a lump in the breast can be scary for anyone. Even if you are a very strong person, the presence of a breast lump is indeed alarming. But you can find relief in the fact that not all breast lumps are cancerous.

There is a greater likelihood that your breast lump exists because of other causes. But you need to see a doctor to confirm the same. For this reason, it is very important to see a doctor immediately when you notice a lump in your breast. Here are 6 causes of breast lumps that are not cancerous.

Your monthly period: Many hormonal changes occur before, during, and after a woman’s period. Due to these hormonal changes, lumps can form in the breasts. These lumps also disappear within a week’s time or so without any treatment. But this type of lump can cause pain. So, ask your doctor to suggest a painkiller or medicine if the pain is intolerable to you. If you get such lumps regularly with your monthly period, it can also be a good idea to tell your doctor about it and get an examination done just to be sure.

Fat necrosis: Fat cells can die due to trauma such as surgery, injury, and exposure to radiation. When this occurs, it is known as fat necrosis. The dead fat cells can form a lump that is hard to touch. If this is your experience, do get it checked out by your doctor. But know that fat necrosis lumps are not cancerous. Such kind of damage doesn’t always occur immediately after an injury. A lump due to fat necrosis can also form a few years after the actual cause. Your doctor is likely to not suggest a surgery for its removal as it can complicate the matter further. When such lumps are removed, the body usually creates another lump as the surgery trauma can kill already weak fat cells from the previous injury.

Papillomas: Tumors in the breast nipples and in milk ducts are called intraductal papillomas. These lumps are comprised of fibrous tissues, glands, and blood vessels. It can feel like touching a marble. A single papilloma may not raise your chances of cancer. But there are certain factors that increase your chances of getting cancer after papillomas. These factors are multiple papillomas, hereditary reasons (such as other people in the family with papillomas), and abnormal cells inside the lumps. If you get a papilloma when young, it is another risk factor for cancer.

Breast fibrosis: If the breasts have additional connective tissues that are lumpy, it is referred to as breast fibrosis or fibrocystic changes in the breast. It mostly occurs in women in the age group of 30 to 60. The exact cause of fibrosis in the breast is not known. One theory is that your monthly period hormonal fluctuations can cause fibrocystic changes. Cysts that form with breast fibrosis are filled with liquid. Breast fibrosis doesn’t require treatment and is not cancerous. But this type of lump can be painful. So, talk to your doctor about how to manage the pain. It also goes without saying that you need to see a doctor if you feel a lumpy mass that can move inside the breasts. But if your ultrasound test shows a presence of both solid and liquid or just solid matter inside the cysts, you may have a cause of worry. Such cysts are called complex cysts. Your doctor will conduct a biopsy of complex cysts to rule out cancer. Complex cysts can also raise your chances of cancer in the future.

Phyllodes tumors: Phyllodes lumps are softer than other types of breast lumps. It doesn’t usually cause any pain. Phyllodes are not usually cancerous. But you need to get them removed through surgery. The reason for this is that phyllodes tumors can continue to grow in large numbers. But there is always a slight chance that such tumors can mean cancer. The scary thing is that it doesn’t respond well to any cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or hormonal cancer therapy. So, it is imperative to get them checked at the earliest.

Fibroadenomas: Commonly seen in young girls, fibroadenomas are benign lumps. These lumps can move inside the breasts and feel rubbery to touch. Fibroadenomas can form with connective and gland tissues in the breasts. Your doctor will order a mammogram or an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis of fibroadenomas. Small-sized fibroadenomas (around 2 cms) is not a cause for worry. It is referred to as simple fibroadenomas. It doesn’t require any treatment. It may also shrink after a while. But bigger fibroadenomas can increase your chances of cancer. These are bigger and are irregularly shaped. Your doctor may conduct a biopsy of these cells to confirm if they are cancerous or not.

Regular self-examination of breasts is a good habit for women to follow. It can help you notice a lump sooner rather than when it is too late for treatment. Any changes in your breasts such as even tiny lumps, growths, change in shape, or unusual firmness needs to be examined by your doctor.
If you experience pain and discomfort or have any discharge from nipples other than breast milk, talk to your doctor about it. Breast cancer is very common in women all around the world.

Preventive measures and keeping track of changes in your breast can help with early diagnosis of cancer. Early diagnosis can mean better chances of a successful treatment of the disease.

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Beloved,

1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step; so it is with changing health habits!

2. Focus on one new healthy habit at a time.

3. God can help us transform ourselves!

Share this story to let others know about these health tips.

God bless you and your family,
Aaron Tabor, MD