A breast lump can be described as a mass, growth, swelling, thickness or fullness. A breast lump can vary in the way it looks and feels. If you have a breast lump, you may notice:
- A distinct lump with definite borders.
- A thickened, slightly more prominent area in your breast that's different from surrounding breast tissue.
- Other breast changes, such as redness, dimpling or pitting of the skin.
- One breast that's noticeably larger than the other.
- Nipple changes, such as a nipple that's pulled inward, also called nipple inversion, or spontaneous fluid discharge from your nipple.
- Breast pain or tenderness.
Sometimes, a breast lump is a sign of breast cancer. That's why you should seek prompt medical evaluation. Fortunately, however, most breast lumps result from noncancerous, or benign, conditions.
A breast lump can develop as a result of conditions, such as:
- Breast cancer
- Breast cysts
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Hamartoma, a noncancerous tumor in the breast
- Injury or trauma to the breast
Make an appointment with your health care provider to have a breast lump evaluated, especially if:
- The breast lump is new or unusual, and feels different from surrounding tissue or from tissue in your other breast.
- The breast lump doesn't go away or gets bigger after your next menstrual period.
- The breast lump changes — gets bigger, firmer or more defined from surrounding breast tissue.
- You have bloody, possibly spontaneous discharge from your nipple.
- You notice skin changes on your breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering.
- Your nipple is turned inward, or inverted, although it isn't normally positioned that way.