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Breast lump

Breast mass; Breast nodule; Breast tumor

A breast lump is swelling, growth, or mass in the breast.

Breast lumps in both men and women raise concern for breast cancer, even though most lumps are not cancer.

Images

Female Breast
Breast lumps
Fibrocystic breast disease
Fibroadenoma
Causes of Breast Lumps

Presentation

Breast lump removal - series - Normal anatomy

I Would Like to Learn About:

Considerations

Both males and females of all ages have normal breast tissue. This tissue responds to hormone changes. Because of this, lumps can come and go.

Breast lumps may appear at any age:

Causes

Lumps in a woman are most often either fibroadenomas or cysts, or just normal variations in breast tissue known as fibrocystic changes.

Fibrocystic changes are painful, lumpy breasts. This is a benign condition that does not increase your risk for breast cancer. Symptoms are most often worse right before your menstrual period, and then improve after your period starts.

Fibroadenomas are noncancerous lumps that feel rubbery.

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that often feel like soft grapes. These can sometimes be tender, often just before your menstrual period. Ultrasound can determine if a lump is a cyst. It can also reveal whether it is a simple, complicated, or complex cyst.

Other causes of breast lumps include:

Home Care

See your provider if you have any new lumps or breast changes. Ask about your risk factors for breast cancer, and screening and prevention for breast cancer.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Also call if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will get a complete history from you. You will be asked about your factors that may increase the risk for breast cancer. The provider will perform a thorough breast exam. If you don't know how to perform a breast self-exam, ask your provider to teach you the proper method.

You may be asked medical history questions such as:

Steps your provider may take next include:

How a breast lump is treated depends on the cause.

Related Information

Breast cancer

References

Davidson NE. Breast cancer and benign breast disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 188.

Gilmore RC, Lang JR. Benign breast disease. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:657-660.

Henry NL, Shah PD, Haider I, Freer PE, et al. Cancer of the breast. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 88.

Hunt KK, Mittendorf EA. Diseases of the breast. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 34.

Kern K. Delayed diagnosis of symptomatic breast cancer. In: Bland KI, Copeland EM, Klimberg VS, Gradishar WJ, eds. The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 86.

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Review Date: 9/15/2019  

Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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