A breast lump is a abnormal growth of tissue that develops within a woman’s breast. It can be accompanied by symptoms such as breast pain or changes in the nipple and may or may not be noticeable to the naked eye depending on its location within the breast.

Suspicious breast lumps are common in women of all ages; however, they are mostly common during reproductive years (from first menstruation until menopause).

Even though over 90% of breast lumps are benign, the detection of a lump in the breast can raise some doubtful fears of a cancer diagnosis. Seeking proper medical attention is advised for further examination in order to increase the chances of a correct diagnosis.  



Common signs and symptoms of a breast lump include the following:

  • A small lump in the breast
  • Pain or tenderness of the lump
  • Breast pain
  • Skin changes
  • Changes in the nipple



Having a breast lump does not automatically raise a red flag for breast cancer. Most breast lumps are noncancerous and can result from:

  • A breast cyst: A blocked milk duct filled with fluid (most common around menopause).
  • Mastitis: Inflammation of the breast caused by an infection. It is often associated with localized breast pain.
  • Lipoma: A benign tumor of fat cells that can occur in any area of the body.
  • Fibrocystic breast changes: Changes within the breasts in relation to lumpiness and tenderness. Most are associated with changes within a woman’s menstrual cycle.



In some cases where there is a slight increased risk of breast cancer in the future, conditions include:

  • Fibroadenomas: Areas of overgrowth of normal breast tissue that can arise due to hormonal changes such as being pregnant or receiving hormone therapy.

In about 10% of all cases, a breast lump may turn out to be breast cancer, in which case the breast lump may be abnormally shaped, the skin covering the lump may look red or dimpled, and there may be discharge from the nipple.

Only through proper medical examination can a doctor evaluate what type of breast lump a woman has and give the correct diagnosis for further treatment.



Treatment options for a breast lump typically depend on the type of breast lump a woman has, overall health condition, medical history and preferences.

·         Fibrocystic breasts are generally treated with over the counter pain remedies or hormone therapy such as birth control pills.

·         Breast cysts tend to disappear on their own; however, if the cyst is painful, drainage of fluid from the cyst with a needle may be recommended.

·         If a fibroadenoma remains unchanged in size and appearance, surgery may be required to remove it.

·         In cases of breast lumps caused by an infection, antibiotic treatment is recommended (some may require surgery).

In cases where the breast lump is in fact breast cancer, treatment options depend on the type of cancer and its stage of development. A doctor might recommend:

·         Surgery: A surgical procedure that involves complete removal of the cancer if possible depending on its location within the body.

·         Chemotherapy: The use of anti-cancerous drugs to kill cancer cells.

·         Radiation therapy: The use of high powered energy beams such as X-rays to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery.