With the increasing dangers of breast cancer and other non benign conditions connected to the breast, the appearance of a small lumpy formation in the breast or under the armpit sends women scurrying to their medical experts. A lump in the breast refers to a thickening or a swelling inside the breast and is a common phenomenon in many women.
The good news is that 90 percent of these breast lumps are diagnosed as non cancerous or benign.
The Characteristics of Your breasts
Breasts are typically made up of connective tissues, fat, ducts and glandular tissues. The internal structure of the breasts, incorporate the lobes that contain the glandular tissues. These lobes are connected to the nipple by milk ducts that are responsible for the production and supply of milk for a new born baby.
Most women are unaware of the connection of the underarm region and the breasts. A small tail or elongated portion of the tissues of the breast extends into the region under the armpit. The underarm region also has certain lymph nodes, which are a type of glandular tissues that are an inherent part of the immune system of the body.
Benign Breast Lumps
Benign breasts lumps are of various kinds, with the most common ones including cysts and fibroadenomas or solid growths, that usually contain glandular tissues and fibrous tissues . Cysts are sacs that get filled up with fluids and develop in and around the tissues of the breasts. In some cases, even the normal portions of the breasts can feel like lumpy formations.
Causes Connected to the Formation of Benign Breast Lumps
An overgrowth of the normal cells in the breast cause benign breast lumps such as Fibroadenomas, Mild hyperplasia,cysts,lipoma,abscess, Phyllodes tumours,atypical hyperplasia among others.
Fibroadenomas are caused mainly in younger women due to the thickening of the tissues in the breast. This is one of the most common causes for the appearance of benign breast lumps.
This type of benign breast lump is caused by the excessive growth of cells in the region containing the normal breast tissues
The atypical hyperplasia often enhances the risks of breast cancer and a doctor should be consulted immediately. These lumps are caused by an abnormal overgrowth of cells in the breast tissues.
Some benign breast lumps can be caused due to the presence of Phyllodes tumors. These can also be cancerous or non benign in certain cases.
Cysts are sac like formations that get filled with fluids and develop in the breast tissues. These are one of the most common causes of breast lumps in women who are capable of childbirth. The appearance of these benign breast lumps may be very sudden and there may be a large number of such small cysts present inside the breast of the patient.
Lipoma and Abscess
Lipomas are fatty breast lumps that are benign in nature. Women who are breastfeeding their infants may be prone to certain infections that gives rise to inflammation or abscess. The abscess may be caused due to other reasons as well
Periductal Mastitis and Fat Necrosis
The periductal mastitis is a specific kind of breast lump that is found in women who smoke. It causes infection and inflammation around the nipples in the breasts.
Fat necrosis refers to firm lumps that develop in the damaged portions of the fat containing breast tissues. An injury or bruise connected with the breasts can give rise to the fat necrosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Benign Breast Lumps
Though most breast lumps turn outs non cancerous, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as they appear. Some important symptoms of the formation of benign breasts lumps are as follows:
Changes in the Breast
After the age of puberty, the formation of benign breast lumps can be accompanied with a change in the shape, size and feel of the breasts.
Dimpling, Reddening or Puckering of the Breast
Along with the development of the benign breast lumps and thickening of the breast tissues, certain changes in the look and texture of the breasts such as puckering, dimpling and redness take place, which should be referred to a doctor immediately
Changes in the Nipple
One of the primary symptoms of benign breast lumps is a change that occurs in the appearance of the nipples. There may be secretions or discharge from one or both the nipples. This may be accompanied by pain in the breasts and the nipples.
Swelling and Pain in the Underarms
Benign breast lumps are also detected by the presence of a lump or swelling in the armpit. This lumpy formation is often accompanied by pain and discomfort.
Diagnosis of Benign Breast Lumps
After the development of any of the above symptoms, the doctor may ask you to narrate your family history and a synopsis of the signs of benign breast lumps observed . Further tests such as an ultrasound or mammogram, may be advised at a hospital or specialist breast clinic, to diagnose the cause for the development of these benign breast lumps. Depending on the age and the relative symptoms of the patients, a fine needle biopsy or a core biopsy can also be recommended. The samples collected through these methods of biopsy are sent to a laboratory for further tests and observation.
Treatment of Benign Breast Lumps
Many of these benign breast lumps such as fat necrosis lumps often disappear on their own and do not cause any further complications. Treatment is generally not required for lipomas, hyperplasia or small fibroadenomas and they are usually removed before they grow any bigger. A sample of these benign breast lumps are sent for further checks to the laboratory.
The treatment for other types of benign breast lumps such as cysts require a draining out of the fluid in the sac with a fine needle. An abscess may be treated through the oral administration of antibiotics or by draining out the fluids and the pus collected inside the same.
Benign breast lumps can be cured but it is always better to take precautionary steps such as a change in lifestyle and consumption of a healthy diet, to decrease your chances of developing the same.