FROM OUR EXPERTS
A breast lump is a swelling, protuberance, or lump in the breast.
Normal breast tissue is present in both males and females of all ages. This tissue responds to hormonal changes and, therefore, certain lumps can come and go.
Breast lumps may appear at all ages:
Infants may have breast lumps related to estrogen from the mother. The lump generally goes away on its own as the estrogen clears from the baby's body. It can happen to boys and girls.
Young girls often develop "breast buds" that appear just before the beginning of puberty. These bumps may be tender. They are common around age 9, but may happen as early as age 6.
Teenage boys may develop breast enlargement and lumps because of hormonal changes in mid-puberty. Although this may distress the teen, the lumps or enlargement generally go away on their own over a period of months.
Breast lumps in an adult woman raise concer...
One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it's still rare. It's unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.
If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:
a lump felt in the breast
an inverted nipple
nipple discharge (clear or bloody)
sores on the nipple and areola (the small ring of color around the center of the nipple)
enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
It's important to note that enlargement of both breasts (not just on one side) is usually NOT cancer. The medical term for this is gynecomastia. Sometimes the breasts can become quite large. Non-cancer-related enlargement of the breasts can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol use, weight gain, or m...
Because breast cancer has been the subject of so much media attention and marketing, most American women know this message by heart: changes in your breasts should be reported to your doctor. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know which changes are truly serious, and which are nothing more than a temporary hormonal issue, an allergic skin reaction, or a harmless cyst. Surely we want to protect ourselves from cancer; and just as surely we don’t want to run to the doctor with every breast pain or patch of rough skin around our nipples. Every day women write to us via the Q & A section on this site, asking if the change they see in their breast(s) is a symptom of cancer. Asking questions here at mybreastcancernetwork.com is a good first step, a place to get advice about breast-health issues that might be related to cancer. As expert patients, we use our laymen’s knowledge to assuage your fears, or kick you into gear—whichever is necessary. But, caveat emptor: w...
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