Are you wondering if your breast lumps are normal? There’s a way to find out.
So you found a lump — now what? First, all breast lumps need to be evaluated by a trained medical professional. The good news is that the majority turn out to be noncancerous, especially in younger women.
First, don’t panic…
80 to 85 percent of breast lumps are benign, meaning they are noncancerous, especially in women younger than age 40.
Not only that, but if you’re at an age where you’ve been having regular mammograms, and if those mammograms have been negative, odds are even better that your palpable (capable of being felt) lump is not cancer.
But how do you know? How do you differentiate between a lump that is breast cancer and one that is benign? What causes benign breast lumps? And do they go away on their own?
Breast Lumps Distinctions
Your breasts are made up of fat, nerves, blood vessels, fibrous connective tissue, and glandular tissue, as well as an intricate milk-producing system of lobules (where the milk is made) and ducts (the thin tubes that carry milk to the nipple). This anatomy in and of itself creates a lumpy, uneven terrain.
A breast lump, however, distinguishes itself from this background of “normal” irregularities: A breast lump can be solid and unmovable like a dried bean, or soft and fluid-filled, rolling between your fingers like a grape. It can be smaller than a pea or several inches across, although this larger size is rare.
Meanwhile, what typically differentiates a benign breast lump from a cancerous breast lump is movement. A fluid-filled lump that rolls between the fingers is less likely to be cancer than a lump that is hard and rooted to the breast.
This is not to say all benign lumps move and all cancerous lumps don’t.