If you find a breast lump or other change in your breast or the area surrounding it, you might worry about breast cancer. That’s alright. But breast lumps are common and most often they’re benign, particularly in younger women. However, it’s important you seek a surgeon for a breast lump, especially if the lump is new, feels different from your other breast or feels different from what you’ve felt before.
How breast tissue normally feels
Breasts contain tissues of varying consistency, including fatty, glandular and connective tissue. You might find that breast-related symptoms, such as tenderness or lumpiness, change with your menstrual cycle. Lumps during this time might be caused by extra fluid in your breasts. Breast tissue also changes as you age, typically becoming fattier and less dense.
Being familiar with how your breasts normally feel makes it easier to detect when there’s a change in your breasts.
Consult a surgeon for breast lump if:
- You find a new breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- You notice a change in the size, shape or appearance of your breast
- Breast pain doesn’t go away after your next period
- You notice skin changes on your breast, such as itchiness, redness, scaling, dimpling or puckering
- You have a newly inverted nipple
- You notice spontaneous nipple discharge
What to expect when you visit a surgeon for a breast lump
Evaluation of a breast lump typically begins with a clinical breast exam. During this exam, your doctor will likely:
- Ask about symptoms and your risk factors for breast cancer or benign breast conditions
- Examine your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities
- Examine the skin on your breasts
- Check for nipple problems, such as inversion or discharge
If your surgeon for breast lump confirms that you have a breast lump or other area of concern, you’ll likely need further testing. If the breast lump isn’t cancerous, your surgeon will decide if you need short-term monitoring with clinical breast exams or repeat breast imaging. You may be asked to return in two to three months to see if there have been changes in your breast. Consult your surgeon if you notice changes in the lump or develop new areas of concern.