Concerned if your breast lump is cancerous? All you want to know

Updated on Aug 30, 2021 01:50 PM IST

Not all breast lumps are cancerous but if you notice lumps or other changes in the breast, you must consult your doctor immediately.

Some lumps can be malignant (cancerous) or even precancerous.(Unsplash)
Some lumps can be malignant (cancerous) or even precancerous.(Unsplash)
ByDr Dhairyasheel Savant | Edited by Parmita Uniyal

Noticed any changes in your breast or found a breast lump during breast self-examination? While you need not panic, it is important to consult a doctor on an immediate basis. While you may fear about breast cancer, but remember, that all breast lumps are not cancerous.

Women are often advised self-breast examination to look for any abnormal changes in the breast. It is possible that during the breast examination, one may notice lumps and other changes in the breast that can be worrisome. But, you will have to understand that not all lumps are cancerous. Yes, you have heard it right. Some lumps can be malignant (cancerous) or even precancerous. Thus to rule out breast cancer, visit to a doctor is a must. That is the time you will need to be strong, and clear all the doubts you have in your mind.

What is a breast lump?

Do not know what to do as you have spotted a lump in your breast? Then, first, understand what lump is all about. A breast lump can be termed as localized swelling, bulge, or bump in the breast that is not similar to the breast tissue surrounding it or in the same area of the other breast.

ALSO READ: Breast Cancer Awareness: All you need to know about the disease, its symptoms and more

Reasons behind the occurrence of the breast lump

You will be shocked to know that infection, trauma, cyst, fibroadenoma, or fibrocystic breasts can be the culprits behind the lumps. Moreover, lumps in the breast can be seen in both males and females. However, in females, the occurrence is slightly higher. In case, the lump you have is cancerous which is confirmed in the diagnosis, then it is time to take appropriate action.

Know about breast cancer lumps

Of those who are diagnosed with breast cancer, the common location of the primary tumor is spotted in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. You must know that breast cancer can start anywhere near a breast tissue.

Where are breast cancer lumps usually seen?

According to various studies, cancerous lumps are mainly witnessed in the upper outer quadrant of the breast that is the part of your breast located near the armpit. The exact reason why the lumps are spotted in the upper part is not known yet. In men, the cancerous lumps will be seen around the nipples.

Know more about parts of your breast

The breast constitutes glands, ducts, connective tissue, and fat. In women, each breast consists of 15 to 25 lobules, the glands that are responsible for milk production. Milk tends to travel via the lobules to the nipple through the ducts. Furthermore, men have fewer lobules and ducts. It is unfortunate to know that breast cancer can occur in any breast tissue, ducts, under the skin, and it will be tough to diagnose it.

ALSO READ: An oncologist debunks common myths around breast cancer treatment

Difference between cancerous and non-cancerous lump

If the lump is cancerous then it may not be painful but it will surely be firm, irregular at the edges, may change constantly and can be found in the upper quadrant of the breast. Again, do not fret, only a proper diagnosis will confirm if the lump is cancerous or not. A lump is a non-cancerous lump if it is smooth, rubbery, round, small, and is getting smaller.

Takeaway: Monthly breast self-examination will be helpful in the exact diagnosis of breast cancer. If you happen to notice any lumps or changes in the breast then don’t delay in seeking treatment.

(Dr Dhairyasheel Savant is Medical Director, Asian Cancer Institute Cumballa Hill Hospital; views expressed in this column are author's own)

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