If You Find a Lump in your breast
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 doctor to be sure it is not breast cancer.
Breast lumps or lumpiness
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 doctor if you:
1. Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from the rest of your breast
2. Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from your other breast
3. Feel something that is different from what you felt before
If you are unsure whether you should have a lump (or any change) checked, it is best to see a doctor. Although a lump (or any change) may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind that it has been checked.
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:
1. Occurs without squeezing the nipple
2. Occurs in only one breast
3. Is bloody or clear (not milky)
Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or other condition that needs treatment. If you have any nipple discharge, see a doctor right away.
Other changes in the breasts
You may see or feel other changes in your breasts. See your doctor if you notice any of these warning signs of breast cancer.
1. Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
2. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
3. Change in the size or shape of the breast
4. Dimpling or puckering of the skin
5. Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
6. Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
7. Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
8. New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
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 doctor to be sure.