Doing monthly breast self-examination should be a responsibility of every woman as it is the best way to detect breast cancer in its early stages. Breast lumps can be found during the self-examination; most breast lumps are non-cancerous and are not dangerous.
About breast lumps
You have turn out this page either because you need to know about breast lumps or you found a breast lump or other breast change. Keep in mind that breast changes are very common in women. Mostly changes are not associated with cancer. But, at the same time, it is important to have self-examination and get follow-up tests that your healthcare professional ask you to do.
A breast lump is a tissue mass that develops in a woman’s breasts. These may vary in size and texture. A breast lump may cause pain or nipple discharge when developed in the breast. Depending on the size of the breast, a lump may be large or small and may even feel hard or spongy. It is not always necessary that a breast lump causes pain and nipple discharge, in many cases, they go unnoticed until determined during an imaging test. Some go undetected until a physical exam conducted by a healthcare professional while some are identified during self-examination at home. A suspicious breast lump can also be diagnosed during mammography (a physical clinical test conduct by a health care specialist). Most breast lumps are benign or non-cancerous. Breast lumps are uncommon in men. It is necessary to become familiar with the fact that how a normal breast looks and feel so that you can easily identify any abnormal change in your breasts at home only.
The breast changes
Every woman must know about what changes taking place in their breast. One should know how their nipples look or feel. If you have a breast lump than you might notice a lump or firmness in your breast under your arm. You can also notice the change in the shape and size of your breast. A breast lump may cause your nipple to be pointing or facing inward or feeling tender. Your breast skin may become red, scaly or swollen. Many women may experience pain while touching their breasts. Nipple discharge can also occur, which is defined as an abnormal fluid coming from the nipple.
If you notice any of these breast changes, get your breast checked as soon as possible.
Diagnosing and evaluating breast lumps
Most breast lumps are non-cancerous (benign cancer). To identify the nature of the lump, imaging tests are required to identify the nature of the lump whether it is benign or malignant (cancerous). If you have visited a health care professional and to check your breast changes, your health care professional might perform one or more of the following imaging tests:
- Mammogram – Mammography is the most commonly used technique that utilizes low dose X rays to examine the breasts. It involves exposing the breasts to a small amount of ionizing radiation to get the internal picture of the breasts. You can consult an expert for more information about x- rays and other related doubts.
- Breast MRI – The procedure includes a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a personal computer to show an internal picture of the breasts. MRI helps determine breast lumps that cannot be seen in mammography and ultrasound.
- Breast ultrasound – As we all know that ultrasound produces internal pictures of the body organs, similarly, during breast ultrasound; it shows internal pictures of the breasts that may be difficult to see with mammography. The test is helpful n determining whether the lump is solid or fluid.
Treatment for breast cancer
If a lump is proven to be non-cancerous, no further steps are required to be taken. But, regular checkups are recommended in case the breast lump has changed, progresses, or disappear. In case it is proven to be malignant, surgery is performed for breast cancer cure.
You may have several consultations with your health care professionals for the treatment of breast cancer cells. The treatments include radiation therapy, hormone or chemotherapy. Your physician will prescribe the best cancer therapy according to your condition.
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