A breast lump is a growth of tissue that develops within your breast. Different types of breast lumps can vary in the way they look and feel. You may perceive a lump as a mass, growth, swelling, thickness or fullness.
You might notice:
- A distinct lump with definite borders
- A firm, hard area within your breast
- A thickened, slightly more prominent area in your breast that's different from surrounding breast tissue
- Other breast changes, such as redness, dimpling or pitting of the skin
- One breast that's noticeably larger than the other
- Nipple changes, such as a nipple that's pulled inward or spontaneous fluid discharge from your nipple
- Persistent breast pain or tenderness, which might increase during your menstrual period
Sometimes, a breast lump is a sign of breast cancer. That's why you should seek prompt medical evaluation. Fortunately, however, most breast lumps result from noncancerous (benign) conditions.
Make an appointment to have a breast lump evaluated, especially if:
- The lump feels firm or fixed
- The lump persists beyond four to six weeks
- You notice skin changes on your breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering
- You have discharge, possibly bloody, from your nipple
- Your nipple is turned inward and isn't normally positioned that way
- You can feel enlarging lumps in your armpit
Oct. 08, 2015
- Sabel MS. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of a palpable breast mass. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 18, 2015.
- Raftery AT, et al. Breast lumps. In: Churchill's Pocketbook of Differential Diagnosis. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingston Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2015.
- Cameron JL, et al., eds. Management of benign breast disease. In: Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the differential diagnoses of a breast lump for postpartum or lactating patients? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Kumar V, et al. The breast. In: Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2015.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 1, 2015.