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Monday, January 24, 2011 Keri, Community Member, asks

Q: I have a large round lump in my left breast that moves around when I press down on it.

I had a very large breast lump removed from my right breast in September 2010.  It was benign.  Now I have a very round lump in my left breast that feels about the size of a large grape or a small plum.  It moves around when I press down on it and feels softish sometimes.  It appeared with my last period but did not go away.  I have an appointment with the doctor on Tuesday but just wanted some input.  I'm too shocked to have any emotions at the moment....can't even panic, just feel very disappointed..is there something I'm doing to cause these lumps?  I had my last mammogram last May and the left breast was clear but with ultrasound it did show that I have 5 cysts in that (left) breast, one of them was quite large, I think about 2cm, but I was never able to feel it this much.  I'm not sure if it is the large cyst that has grown or a new one.  Any comments please?  Thank you.

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Answers (1)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/24/11 7:39pm

Keri, you are not doing anything to cause the lumps.  Some people are just more prone to lumps and cysts.  The most dangerous thing you may face from these lumps is the tendency to start ignoring new ones because previous lumps turned out to be benign.  I think there is a good chance that this new lump will turn out to be a cyst since it moves around and changes in how hard or soft it feels.  But don't make any assumptions.  Follow up on that appointment with the doctor.  I hope you get good news.

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Keri, Community Member
1/26/11 7:58pm

Thank you so much for replying to me.  I have another question (sorry!)

I went to the doctor and she said she doesn't know what the lump is so I have to go for a mammogram and ultrasound and perhaps see a specialist.  The lump does seem to have gotten a bit bigger (probably because I've been feeling it so much).  Anyway she said that the lump is quite mobile but she couldn't tell if it was fixed to underlying tissue or not.  Can a lump be fixed to underlying tissue and move around?- I think it moves around fairly well.  In addition, the large cyst they found last year in the same breast was 2.4cm and near the nipple at 12 o'clock.  This current lump is large, near the nipple and at 9.0 c'lock.  Can a breast cyst change positions? Do you think the previous cyst could have gone away on its own?  I understand that no-one can be sure if this is a new lump or not, until I have the tests. But it's so hard getting any kind of answer when you're in the doctor's office!  I would appreciate your comments.  Thank you so much.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/27/11 6:06am

Don't apologize for asking more questions.  That's why we are here.  In general, cancerous lumps are more likely to be fixed, and non-cancerous ones are more likely to move around.  However, that test is not sufficiently reliable to use for diagnosis.  I haven't heard of breast cysts moving to a different part of the breast.  They can go away by themselves.  I used to have frequent breast cysts, and although there were a couple places where they popped up most frequently, I had them in almost every area of my breasts over the years.  Fortunately, cysts are easily distinguished from solid lumps on an ultrasound, so you should soon have some answers.

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By Keri, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/18/12, First Published: 01/24/11