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...
After an abnormality of the breast is found, tests are performed to see if the problem is cancer. One or all of these tests might be done:
Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Two pictures are taken of the breast after it is compressed between two glass plates. One image is shot from the top and the second picture is taken from the side. A radiologist will look at the pictures and determine if anything looks abnormal. He or she may then decide to get other pictures of a certain area. These are called spot or magnification views.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. Ultrasound complements other tests. If an abnormality is seen on mammography or felt by physical exam, ultrasound is the best way to find out if the abnormality is solid (such as a benign fibroadenoma or a cancer) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst). Ultrasound cannot determine whether a solid lump is cancer...
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