Search
My Current Location Atlanta, GA 30308

Access Your Account

New to Healthgrades?

Join for free!

Or, sign in directly with Healthgrades:

Doctors and their Administrators:
Sign Up or Log In

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Woman Testing her breast for cancer

Breast Lump

By

Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What is breast lump?

A breast lump is a swelling, outgrowth, or protrusion in the breast. Both women and men have breast tissue. This normal tissue may respond to changes in hormone levels, leading to breast lumps. The lumps may come and go depending on hormone levels. Breast lumps can also signal both benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors of the breast.

Breast lumps can occur at any age in women and men. In adult women, lumps are most often caused by changes in the breast tissue related to hormonal shifts. These are called fibrocystic changes. Fibroadenomas (a type of benign tumor), cysts, and damage to the fatty tissue are other reasons for breast lumps in adult women. Breast infection (mastitis) or a small growth in the milk duct (intraductal papilloma) can also result in a breast lump. The majority of breast lumps are benign, particularly in women under age 40. Despite that reassuring news, it often a challenge to accurately identify which lumps are most worrisome.

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a 5-Star Cancer Specialist Near You

Breast enlargement in men is called gynecomastia. This swelling of the breast tissue occurs most often in boys at mid-puberty. Tender lumps develop beneath one or both nipples in response to hormonal changes. These lumps generally disappear within a year.

8 Healthy Foods for People With Cancer

What you eat may help remedy the side effects of cancer treatment.

Infants may experience a breast lump because of estrogen they received from the mother’s bloodstream. Once the estrogen clears from the infant’s body, the lump will usually go away. Right before puberty, young girls develop lumps called breast buds. This tissue may be temporarily tender as girls start the early stages of puberty.

In some instances, breast lumps can be associated with breast cancer. A painless but firm lump with irregular edges is a sign of a potentially cancerous breast lump.

Seek prompt medical care if your breast lump is persistent or causes you concern.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 6, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Breast lump. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003155.htm
  2. For women facing a breast biopsy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/examsandtestdescriptions/forwomenfacingab...
  3. Singh H, Sethi S, Raber M, Petersen LA. Errors in cancer diagnosis: current understanding and future directions. J Clin Oncol 2007; 25:5009.

You Might Also Like

10 Things Doctors Want You to Know About Lung Cancer

Doctors say there are many promising new therapies today that are revolutionizing how they attack lung cancer.

What is Immunotherapy and How Does It Fight Cancer?

Immunotherapy is a group of treatments that help your immune system find and fight cancer.

Share via Email

NEXT ARTICLE:

Lung Cancer By the Numbers

Up Next

Lung Cancer By the Numbers