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Different Types Of Breast Lumps: How To Tell If It’s Cancerous Or Not?


A breast lump is a small swelling, protuberance, bulge, or bump in the breast that feels different from the surrounding breast tissue or the breast tissue in the same place as the opposite breast.

A lump in breast may form for a variety of reasons. Infection, trauma, fibroadenoma, cyst, fat necrosis, or fibrocystic breasts are all possible causes.

Breast lumps can occur in both men and women, but women are more likely to acquire them. Some bumps are malignant, but the vast majority are not.

While this can assist in determining whether a lump is malignant, patients should always seek medical attention for an unexplained breast lump. Some noncancerous lumps require therapy, and not all cases of breast cancer manifest in the same way.

Continue reading to discover more about the many types of breast lumps and whether they are a sign of breast cancer.

Are Breast Lumps Normal

Sometimes, a lump in the breast is an indication of breast cancer. These bumps are usually firm, irregular, and painless. Not every lump in breast, however, is cancerous.

Other warning indications of breast cancer include nipple discharge, dimpling skin, and breast edema or thickening. Nobody’s breasts are the same, and their appearance and sensation might fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle.

Breast lumps can be caused by a number of medical disorders and drugs. These are some examples:

  • menopause transition
  • menopause
  • pills and injections used as birth control methods
  • pregnancy

If a person is concerned about a lump, they should consult with a doctor who can examine it physically.

Types Of Breast Lumps

There are mainly four types of breast lumps: fibroadenoma, breast cyst, other benign fibrocystic tumors, and breast cancer.

  1. A fibroadenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth that most commonly affects young women.
  2. Breast cysts are soft, fluid-filled sacs that are not cancerous.
  3. Other benign fibrocystic tumors are a benign mixture of fibrous and cystic masses.
  4. Breast cancer is typically less painful and tougher than cysts and fibroadenomas.

A Cancerous Breast Lump

A malignant lump in breast, according to studies, is painless, firm, and has uneven edges. It could also adhere to underlying tissue, such as the chest wall. This indicates it will not move when prodded.

When a person notices or feels a change in their breast, whether it is a new lump or skin dimpling, they should contact a doctor who will physically check the breast. The doctor usually orders a mammogram or ultrasound to discover more about the bulge.

Other breast cancer symptoms

Other breast lump symptoms to be on the lookout for include:

  • nipple discharge that might be either clear or tea-colored
  • nipple texture and color variations
  • breast alterations, such as color changes and itchy, dry, or dimpled skin

Breast Cancer Lump Size

Cancerous breast masses are rarely uniform in size. Some may be the size of a pea, while others may be much larger. Any bulge, no matter how large or tiny, has the potential to cause cancer.

However, the longer a malignant mass grows, the more likely it may spread to other body parts. This is why people must speak with a doctor as soon as they feel a lump in their breast of any size.

Benign Breast Lumps

A benign lump in breast is non-cancerous and is common in persons at some point in their life. Benign breast lumps include cysts and fibroadenomas. Breastcancer.org lists the following  benign breast lump symptoms:

  • general breast discomfort
  • nipple ache
  • The discharge from the nipple is yellow or green.


However, other types of breast cancer exhibit these symptoms as well; therefore it is critical that a person see a doctor as soon as they discover any changes in their breast.

Furthermore, several benign breast disorders can raise a person’s risk of developing breast cancer later in life. A doctor will create a treatment plan and monitor the breast for any changes in these circumstances.

Breast Cysts

Cysts are benign tumors that are frequent in females aged 35-50. Cysts, unlike malignant tumors, may expand and feel pain in the days preceding menstruation. Clogged breast glands can cause cysts.

When checking one’s breast, the lump may feel soft or hard. As the symptoms of breast cyst vary, a person may mistake the lump for a huge blister on the skin’s surface. The tissue surrounding the cyst may feel hard if it is deeper in the breast.

 Symptoms of Breast Cyst

  •  smooth, readily movable round or oval lump with smooth edges
  • A clear, yellow, wheatish, or dark brown nipple discharge
  • Breast discomfort or soreness in the area of the breast lump
  • Breast lump enlargement and pain right before your period
  • A reduction in the size of your breast lump and the resolution of other symptoms of breast cyst following your period

Breast Cyst Treatment

Simple breast cysts are a sudden painful lump in breast. They are fluid-filled and do not cause symptoms.  Cysts are confirmed by ultrasound or fine-needle aspiration and do not require breast cyst treatment. Many cysts will typically go away on their own. Consult your doctor if a cyst persists, feels firmer, or you observe skin changes in the area over the cyst.

Fibroadenoma Lumps

Fibroadenomas are painless, tiny lumps that feel solid, smooth, and spherical. They occur more commonly in females aged between 20 to 30 yrs.

Unlike malignant masses, fibroadenomas do not cause breast lump symptoms,  such as nipple discharge or edema.

A person may believe that they can move the lump and that it has a rubbery sensation.

One form of fibroadenoma may increase the risk of getting breast cancer, particularly in females with a family history of breast cancer. A fibroadenoma will usually go away on its own, but if it does not or if it develops larger, a doctor will remove it.

Breastfeeding Lump

Mastitis is likely if a person discovers their breast is lumpy, painful, and heated while nursing.

Mastitis is an infection that happens due to a clogged milk duct. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. A person may need to experiment with different breastfeeding approaches to prevent mastitis from returning.

If the person develops new lumps in the breast after taking antibiotics, they should consult their doctor again. While only 3% of females acquire breast cancer while breastfeeding, it is critical that a person monitor their breasts for any changes during this period.

Performing A Self-Exam

The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends that people undertake breast self-exams at least once a month. Females should do this soon, following the end of their menstrual cycle. A breast self-exam can be performed by following the steps below:

  1. Apply gentle, medium, and hard pressure on the entire breast and armpit area with the pads of the three middle fingers. Examine the area for any lumps or thicker knots or patches.
  2. Examine the breasts visually with the arms at the sides and then with the arms lifted. Keep an eye out for changes in breast form and skin texture.
  3. Lower your arms and then place the palms of your hands on your hips. Firmly press down to force the chest muscles to flex. You should be looking for signs such as puckering, dimpling, or other changes, especially on one side.
  4. Lie down with a pillow beneath your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using the pads of your fingers, press around the breast and armpit area with your left hand. Check for lumps again, using light, medium, and strong pressure. Check for discharge by squeezing the nipple. Repeat this procedure on the left breast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have a lump on side of breast near armpit?

An armpit lump may be caused due to an infection, irritation due to shaving or antiperspirant use, or it could be a cyst. These lumps, however, may also signify a significant underlying health issue. Seek medical assistance if you have a lump on side of breast near armpit that progressively grows larger, is painful or not, and does not go away.

What causes a sudden painful lump in breast?

A breast lump may indicate a breast infection, such as mastitis or an abscess. Breast infections can create a sudden painful lump in breast, which is commonly accompanied by warmth and redness.

What does it feel like to have a cancerous breast lump?

Feeling a lump does not necessarily reveal whether or not it is malignant. Some people are not affected by a lump. They develop breast tissue thickening or other abnormalities, such as an inverted nipple. Seek medical attention for any unexplained breast changes.


A breast lump might be benign or cancerous. Menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and weight gain can all cause changes in breast consistency. Other signs of breast cancer include additional tumors near the armpit and drainage from the nipple.

Cysts and fibroadenomas are examples of non-cancerous tumors. Cysts can expand and cause pain right before a woman’s period begins. When a person pokes a fibroadenoma, it feels substantial and moves.

If a person discovers a lump in their breast, they should always consult a doctor, no matter how small the bump is. If the lump becomes cancerous and expands in size, cancer cells may break off and spread to other parts of the body.



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