Breast Lumps and Concerns 101
Aug 02, 2016 11:45AM
By Lynda Witt
Women who have found a lump (or lumps) in their breasts may panic, call their doctor and ask for help and guidance for what to do next. However, 90 percent of breast conditions are not cancer—most breast health problems are benign. Before giving any suggestions though, it is helpful to go through this information to help women come to a place of reassurance and grounding.
We all understand just how frightening it can be to discover a lump in our breast, so it is important that more information is shared. Women should always follow their intuition on their breast health and never deny what it is they truly know. Follow-up and evaluation is very important for all discreet breast findings.
Below are some common breast abnormalities that are not related to the development of breast cancer.
Cysts – Cysts are collections of fluids in breast tissue. About 60 percent of women will have at least one cyst during their lifetime. They are usually small and do not cause problems, but may increase in size, form a lump or cause pain or tenderness. Cysts occur most commonly between the ages of 35 and 50 years and especially between 42 and 48 years. They are uncommon after menopause, except in women on Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Hormonal Thickening – This can occur at any age during the reproductive years and may come and go. It is a response to hormone changes and is often related to pre-menopausal breast tenderness. It usually disappears naturally after menopause. Further diagnosis can be made with a combination of breast examination, mammography, ultrasound and needle biopsy. No treatment is necessary unless there is pain.
Fibroadenoma – These are very common nodules in the breast and are commonly benign. They are common in young women (under 25), but can occur at any age. They appear as oval, tender masses and may not be able to be felt as lumps. Many women have more than one.
They are not related to breast cancer, but do need to be accurately diagnosed. This can usually be done by needle biopsy. Diagnosis is usually made by ultrasound, needle biopsy and mammography (in older women). They may be removed by surgery, but this is not essential.
Nipple discharge – Most nipple discharges are harmless, particularly if the discharge comes from more than one duct and from both nipples. These discharges are due to the production of fluid by normal breast cells in response to hormones. If the discharge is bloodstained or watery, it is important to see a doctor.
Lynda Witt, ACCT Certified Thermographer, is the founder of Proactive Health Solutions, located at WellnessFirst!, 3861 N. 1st Ave., in Tucson. Connect at 520-209-1755 or [email protected]. See ad, page 3.