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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 breast lump as breast cancer is a common misdiagnosis (and a...more »

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, such as breast cysts ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Breast lump:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Breast lump. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Breast lump: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Breast lump

Home medical tests possibly related to Breast lump:

Causes of Types of Breast lump:

Review causes of types of Breast lump in more specific categories:

Breast lump: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Breast lump, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

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 developing ...Breast lump Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Breast lump may include:

Review further information on Breast lump Treatments.

Stories from Users for Breast lump

Real-life user stories relating to Breast lump:

Message Boards for Breast lump

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Breast lump or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Breast lump:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Breast lump. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • Examination the breast lump when sitting and lying flat and assess breast lump position, size, shape, consistency, tenderness and mobility and attachment to the overlying skin. e.g. a hard, irregular lump is suspicious of breast cancer; a firm, smooth and mobile breast lump may suggest fibroadenoma
    • Axillary and supraclavicular lymph node examination
    • Examine to see if there is a deformity of the breast associated with the mass e.g. an orange peel appearance of the skin over the tumor, retraction of the skin, retraction of the nipple or ulceration of the skin overlying the mass suggests breast cancer
    • Examine lump to see if it transilluminates - may suggest a cyst of the breast or a galactocoele. If it does not transilluminate it is probably a benign or malignant tumor.
    • If suspect breast cancer inspect liver , lungs and spine for evidence of metastases
  • more tests...»

Medications or substances causing Breast lump:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Breast lump as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Breast lump: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Breast lump may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Breast lump

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Breast lump:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Breast lump. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Breast lump Assessment Questionnaire (18 listings)

Breast lump: Deaths

Read more about causes and Breast lump deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Breast lump

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or more »

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash with redness and more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is more »

Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi. See melanoma and more »

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 years, and more »

Breast lump: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Breast lump

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Breast lump:

Breast lump: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Breast lump: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Breast lump listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Breast lump as a symptom include:

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)

Organs affected by Breast lump:

The list of organs typically affected by Breast lump may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Breast lump

The list below shows some of the causes of Breast lump mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Breast lump?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Breast lump. Of the 64 causes of Breast lump that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 1 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 62 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Breast lump:

The following list of conditions have 'Breast lump' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Breast lump or choose View All.

View All A B C D F G H I L M N P S Z








  • Male Breast Cancer ... hard painless breast lump, breast thickening, breast skin pitting, breast lump
  • Mastitis ... lumps in breast ducts





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Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Breast lump?

Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Breast lump, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

What are the alternative names for Breast lump:

Breast mass
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Classifications of Breast lump:

Medical Conditions associated with Breast lump:

Breast symptoms (240 causes), Lump (342 causes), Swelling symptoms (3730 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes)

Symptoms related to Breast lump:

Nipple symptoms (123 causes), Breast swelling (72 causes), Breast infection (5 causes), Mastitis, Breast symptoms (240 causes), Breast pain (77 causes), Nipple pain (11 causes), Breast cyst, Breast abscess (5 causes), Breast cancer (3 causes), Metastatic breast cancer, Chronic cystic mastitis, Fat necrosis, Gynecomastia (76 causes), Papilloma, Breast duct papilloma

Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

These general medical articles may be of interest:

Medical News summaries about Breast lump

Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Breast lump and many other medical conditions:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Breast lump

Medical research papers related to Breast lump include:

Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Breast lump:

More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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