Finding a lump in your breast can be a frightening experience.
But most breast lumps are benign, meaning not cancerous. In fact, many women develop benign lumps in their breasts as a result of normal hormonal changes, and these lumps often go away on their own over time.
However, it’s always important to have any breast lumps evaluated by a doctor to determine whether they are benign or cancerous.
Identifying Malignant Breast Lumps
Malignant breast lumps, also known as breast cancer, are lumps that are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. Unlike benign lumps, malignant lumps are often hard, fixed, and do not move when touched. They may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as skin changes, nipple discharge, and swelling in the arm or lymph nodes.
If you suspect that you have a malignant breast lump, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may order a biopsy to determine if the lump is cancerous and, if so, what type of breast cancer it is. Based on this information, your doctor will be able to recommend a treatment plan that is best for you.
It’s also important to note that some types of breast cancer may not cause any noticeable lumps or changes, which is why regular breast cancer screening is so important.
Understanding Benign Breast Lumps
Benign breast lumps are non-cancerous growths that develop in the breast tissue. They are usually smooth, round, and mobile, and are often found by women during self-examinations.
Common types of benign breast lumps include:
- Fibrocystic changes: This is a condition where the breast tissue feels lumpy or rope-like, and is often accompanied by swelling, tenderness, and pain.
- Cysts: Small fluid-filled sacs that can form in the breast tissue. They are usually painless, round, and mobile.
- Fibroadenomas: Round, firm lumps that are usually painless and mobile. They are most common in women under the age of 30.
Long-Term Risk of Breast Cancer after Benign Breast Disease
According to a recent clinical study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, women with a history of benign breast lumps may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
The goal of this study was to find out if benign breast disease increased the risk of getting breast cancer over time. The researchers analyzed data from over 778,000 women between the ages of 50 and 69 who participated in mammographic screenings in Spain between 1996 and 2015.
The results showed that women with a history of benign breast lumps had a 1.77 times higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women without a history of benign breast lumps. That equates to around 25 breast cancer diagnoses out of 1000 women with a history of benign breast lumps, compared to only 15 diagnoses out of 1000 women without a history of benign breast lumps.
The study also found that the risk remained elevated for up to two decades.
Personalized Screening and Monitoring Plans
This new research reinforces the vital importance of designing personalized screening strategies tailored to each individual’s unique risk factors.
This plan should take into account factors such as your age, family history of breast cancer, personal history of breast biopsies or lumps, and any other relevant medical conditions.
Some women may need to have more frequent mammograms, ultrasound exams, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, while others may only need to perform regular self-examinations and see their doctor once a year.
Your doctor can help you determine what is best for you based on your individual risk factors and personal medical history.
Regular self-examinations and mammograms can help detect breast lumps early, when they are most treatable. If you find a lump or notice any unusual or concerning changes in your breast tissues, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of breast cancer is the best way to greatly improve your chances of a full recovery.