Your treatment choices depend on the type of breast lump you have. Your Mayo Clinic doctor will explain your options and consider your preferences as you work together to develop a treatment plan for your condition.
- Fibrocystic breasts. If you have fibrocystic breasts, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain remedies or may prescribe hormone therapy, such as birth control pills.
- Cysts. Some breast cysts disappear without any treatment. If the cyst is painful, your doctor may perform aspiration — drawing the fluid out of the cyst with a needle — which helps drain the cyst and can relieve the pain. If you have recurring breast cysts that are persistent and painful, your doctor may talk to you about surgery to remove the painful breast tissue (lumpectomy). However, most often painful, recurring breast cysts resolve around the time of menopause, when hormone fluctuations occur less frequently.
- Fibroadenomas. A fibroadenoma might disappear without treatment after a few months. You'll have regular ultrasound exams of your breast tissue to assess the size and appearance of the fibroadenoma. If the fibroadenoma grows or appears unusual during an ultrasound exam, your doctor may recommend a biopsy. Depending on the pathology lab findings, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the fibroadenoma. If the fibroadenoma remains unchanged in size or appearance after two years, you can continue with regular breast exams but no longer need follow-up breast ultrasound exams.
- Infections. Most infections respond to antibiotic treatment, but some require surgery.
- Breast cancer. Your treatment for breast cancer depends on which type of cancer it is and its stage of development. Your doctor may recommend surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy or participation in a clinical trial.
If you're at high risk of developing breast cancer, you may benefit from Mayo Clinic's prevention and genetic counseling services.
May 29, 2014
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/womenshealth/non-cancerousbreastconditions/index. Accessed March 19, 2014.
- Sabel MS. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of a palpable breast mass. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 19, 2014.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Stereotactic breast biopsy. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=breastbixr. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 21, 2014.