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Breast lump

Breast lump: Introduction

A breast lump is a symptom of a variety of benign to mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. A breast lump can occur by itself or there may be multiple breast lumps, depending on the underlying cause. A breast lump or lumps result from infection, malignancy, noncancerous growths, and hormonal changes.

A breast lump can be described as a hard or soft nodule, bump, swelling, or bulge. A breast lump can is sometimes also referred to as an abnormality in the shape or contour of the breast. A breast lump can occur in any age group or population, in both males and females, but generally occurs most often in women.

A breast lump can result from an infection, such as mastitis, an infected wound on the breast, or an abscess. A breast lump can also be a symptom of a non-malignant or noncancerous condition, such as breast cysts, fibrocystic breasts, a blocked milk duct and fibroadenomas. A breast lump can also be a symptom of breast cancer, the most common type of cancer in women. Breast lumps and breast cancer can also occur in males. For more details about causes, see causes of a breast lump.

A breast lump often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. A breast lump may also occur without any other symptoms. Other coexisting symptoms can include fever, breast pain, breast tenderness, pain or tenderness of the breast lump, and discharge from the nipples. Symptoms can also include breast deformity or change in the size or shape or appearance of the breast, redness or swelling of the breast, or an inverted nipple.

Diagnosing a breast lump and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including cancer history, and completing a physical examination, including a breast examination.

Making a diagnosis often includes performing a mammogram, a special X-ray of the breasts. An ultrasound using sound wave technology may also be done to help determine if the breast lump is fluid-filled, which occurs in a benign breast cyst. An ultrasound can also help to determine of a breast lump is or a hard solid mass, which may indicate a cancerous tumor.

A biopsy may also be done. A biopsy involves taking a sample of the breast lump to examine under a microscope for breast cancer cells.

If a breast lump is found to be cancerous, further testing is generally performed. Imaging tests may include MRI and PET scan, which can help to show if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as to the lymph nodes. A lymph node biopsy is generally done if metastasis to the lymphatic system is suspected.

Other diagnostic tests performed for breast cancer include hormone tests.

A diagnosis of a breast lump and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because a breast lump may be small, may not be painful, and might be ignored and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of breast lump.

Treatment of a breast lump varies depending on the underlying cause. Some conditions can be successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. Treatment of a breast cyst may include a needle aspiration of the fluid in the cyst. Fibrocystic disease may need no treatment unless there is pain. Treatment of breast cancer is complex and generally includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy and other medications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of breast lump. ...more »

Breast lump: A lump in the breast immediately brings fear of breast cancer, although most breast lumps are benign breast cysts. However, the failure to identify a ... more about Breast lump.

Breast lump: Any type of lump in the breast. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Breast lump is available below.

Breast lump: Treatments

Treatment plans for a breast lump or lumps are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the discomfort of a breast lump or lumps and decreases the risk of ...more treatments »

Breast lump: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing a breast lump and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, a breast lump may not be painful or large enough for a person to become concerned and seek medical care. In addition, small breast lumps may not be noticed for long periods of time.

A breast lump caused by breast cancer can potentially be misdiagnosed as a benign condition, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Breast lump

Treatments for Breast lump

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Breast lump?

Breast lump: Related Patient Stories

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Diagnostic Tests for Breast lump

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Breast lump: Complications

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Causes of Breast lump

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Disease Topics Related To Breast lump

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Breast lump: Undiagnosed Conditions

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Misdiagnosis and Breast lump

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Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early more »

Breast lump: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Breast lump: Rare Types

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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Breast lump

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Definitions of Breast lump:

A mass in the mammary gland, either mobile or immobile. Once the mass has reached the size of a small garden pea, it can be detected by palpation. With mammography a larger number of early breast cancers are being detected since this techniques allows detection prior to the point at which the mass can be felt. Breast masses are not always malignant. Benign fibrocystic breast disease is not uncommon. A fine needle biopsy aspiration can distinguish a cystic mass from a solid one. - (Source - Diseases Database)


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