Some topics are seen as sacred and shouldn’t be talked about as often as others and I partly understand but when it involves health why not talk about it and get help, notwithstanding ain’t saying stop over to every Dick, Tom and Harry and discuss your problem for even the person you are talking to about your health issue might as well have health issues bothering them.
And on this table, I have a topic I want to briefly talk about today, Breast Lump!
Breast lumps are localized swelling or bumps in the breast which feels quite different from breast tissue around it or the breast tissue in the same area of the other breast when palpated.
- Hormonal Change: Most benign breast lumps are menstrual cycle related. A change in hormone level could affect breast, possibly forming cysts, fibroadenoma or even the lump which can be felt before or after or even during monthly cycle. A breast cyst is a painless or painful benign, non cancerous fluid filled sac in the breast which feels smooth and rubbery under the skin. Breast cysts are tender to touch, come and go with menstrual cycle where they can become large at the beginning of menstrual cycle and disappear at the end of the cycle. Fibroadenoma is common among young girls and women in their teens and 20s especially among those that use birth control pills before age 20. It’s movable under the skin,round and can be hard. Identified easily by biopsy or lump removal, not much a cause for alarm if it shrinks or doesn’t grow with time.
- Breast Injury: which is a common cause leading to fat necrosis. Fat necrosis occurs due to injury to the breast resulting in formation of round, firm lumps. Fat necrosis is a cause common to females with large breast especially obese women.
- Breast feeding Problems: A common cause seen among breastfeeding mothers that often leads to mastitis or even an abscess. Mastitis is an infection of the milk duct which creates a lumpy, red and warm breast, usually accompanied by fever, treated with warm compress and antibiotics.
- Breast Cancer *to be discussed later*
- Fibrocystic breasts (lumpy or rope-like breast tissue).
- Intraductal papilloma (a benign, wart-like growth in a milk duct)
- Lipoma (a slow-growing, doughy mass that’s usually harmless)
- Milk cyst (galactocele) — a milk-filled cyst that’s usually harmless.
Visit G.P when the following signs are seen:
- lump that feels firm or fixed
- lump which persists beyond four to six weeks
- Skin changes on the breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering
- A rash around the nipple area.
- Discharge, possibly bloody, from one or both nipples
- The nipple is turned inward and isn’t normally positioned that way al binitio
- You can feel enlarging lumps in your armpit
- Pain that doesn’t go away in one part of your breast or armpit.
- Self Examination: For every female that has developed/ is developing mammary gland, it’s important that they are familiar with their body especially the breast and learn how to self exam themselves in order to be able to detect early when there is an issue. Self examination is the first and a prerequisite for diagnosing breast lump, breast cancer etc.
- Mammogram which is an X-ray of the breast
- Breast Ultrasound which aids to produce image of the breast for further analysis.
- Breast Biopsy: In my opinion, biopsy of any tissue gives a 98% positive result and this is simply taking a sample of cells from the suspected breast lump and sending to the laboratory for further testing and analysis.
Easy guideline on Self examination of the breast
- Often than not, not because you are looking for something or expecting abnormality, females should look in the mirror,observing, checking for size, shape,color, swelling or abnormal protruding of any sort on the their breast.
- Raise the arms one after the other and repeat the first step
- Check for any discharge (especially if you are not a lactating mother ) from the nipples which may either be milky or watery or yellow or bloody.
- Feel the breast with a firm, smooth maybe circular motion while lying down extending to underarms and down to rib cage.
- Fourth step should be repeated while standing and sitting and this step could be easier while showering in the morning or at evenings.
Before talking about treatment, it is worthy to note that breast lump is among the signs of Breast Cancer but not breast cancer especially when not handled immediately and when lumps are proven to be cancerous, surgery is the number one treatment to avoid spread followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Treatment of lumps is etiologic-ally based. For example if it’s a cyst or a fibrous lump, lump monitoring with no further action is taken but if an abscess, lancing and draining with fine needle plus antibiotics is prescribed.
Breast lumps are treatable and not a cause to panic. When a number of lumps have been removed, it’s advisable to go for biopsy testing to determine possible reasons for re-occurrence.
It doesn’t kill and not infectious.
Self examine yourself, or help examine your spouse or even be their alarm(reminder) for self examination today.
Disclaimer: This is solely for awareness purpose, but feel free to ask questions,share your ideas if you are in the health sector and don’t forget to share the post.
Till next post, stay healthy….
- Sabel MS. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of a palpable breast mass. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 10, 2018.
- 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. Breast masses in adolescent females. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.
- 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.