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Non-cancerous breast lumps

Published:Wednesday | September 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The breast is a very important part of a woman's body. It's a symbol of her sexuality and femininity. Breast lumps can, therefore, cause her a lot of anxiety as she usually worries about losing her breast, and even her life, to cancer.

Fortunately, not all breast lumps are cancerous. Let's look at some of these non-cancerous lumps.

One of the most common

disorders of the breast is fibrocystic disease. In fact, between 50 to 60 per cent of women may have it. It causes the breast to be lumpy but they are not usually discrete lumps.

There is often tenderness, especially around the time of the menses, as it is usually influenced by the female hormones. It's most common in women aged 30 to 50 years. It is usually treated with oil of evening


Fibroadenoma is another very common non-cancerous breast lump. They are usually easy to move around, non-tender, round, smooth and firm. They are most common in younger women, usually under age 40. Treatment normally involves removing them using a minor surgical procedure. They usually go away on their own after menopause, though.




Breast cysts are another common occurrence. Cysts are distinct collections of fluid. Breast cysts normally develop in women who are getting closer to their menopausal years. They are usually oval or round, smooth and firm. They may resolve on their own, developing before the menses and disappearing afterwards. They can, however, be drained with a syringe and needle.

Infection is another fairly common cause of breast lumps, especially in breastfeeding mothers. Inappropriate placement of the breast in the baby's mouth can cause excessive pressure on the nipple and, coupled with the moisture there, the nipples can break down, allowing bacteria into the channels in the breast, leading to an infection. Sometimes these infections can develop into abscesses.

They are usually painful and may cause a fever and may change the colour of the breast milk to yellow due to contamination by pus. An antibiotic and a pain reliever are usually necessary for treatment. If an abscess has formed then the pus will need to be removed.

A lipoma is another lump that can develop in the breast. It is a non-cancerous, but abnormal, collection of fatty tissue. It only needs treatment if it gets to a significant size. Of course, it is usually best to have a doctor assess any breast lump and not assume that it is non-cancerous.