Women can develop many different types of breast lumps and, in most cases, they’re nothing to worry about. Peter Beitsch, MD, at Dallas Surgical Group has years of experience distinguishing a benign from a malignant breast mass, then providing the treatment that’s best for each type of lump. If you’re concerned about a breast mass, call the office in Dallas or use the convenient online booking feature to schedule an appointment.
The first thing to know about a breast mass is that four out of five lumps are benign, which means not cancerous. The second thing to remember is that a new lump is the top sign of breast cancer. Additionally, some types of benign lumps increase your risk of developing breast cancer. It’s always important to protect your health by scheduling an appointment to have a breast mass evaluated.
Fibrocystic changes are the most common cause of a breast mass. The lumps created by fibrocystic changes may be fluid-filled cysts, an overgrowth of cells in the milk ducts, or a collection of fibrous tissue. As a result, you have a lump or a lumpy, rope-like mass that’s often accompanied by breast pain or tenderness.
These are a few of the most common types of breast lumps:
After fibrocystic breast changes, fibroadenomas are the most common type of benign breast mass. These smooth, firm, solid lumps most often affect women in their 20s and 30s. A fibroadenoma usually feels rubbery, moves around, and can vary in size. They need a needle biopsy for diagnosis, but then can be left alone, cryoablated (frozen) or removed.
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can enlarge and becomes painful, especially right before your menstrual period or as you reach menopause. Cysts may feel soft or hard, depending on where they’re located in your breast. Ultrasound easily distinguishes cysts from other masses and is used as a guide for aspirating the fluid out of the cyst (they are rarely if ever removed).
When fat tissue in the breast becomes damaged, the affected area forms into a painless, round, firm lump. This condition typically affects women with large breasts. Once needle biopsied to prove they are benign, they can be followed or occasionally removed.
Sometimes an area of fibrocystic breast tissue feels like a mass. Often this is just a peak of fibrous tissue that approaches the undersurface of the skin mimicking a mass. Ultrasound is used to distinguish this condition.
The first step is to be sure you’re familiar with how your breasts normally feel so you can identify potentially worrisome changes. You can do this by performing a breast self-exam every month.
You should have your breasts evaluated when you notice:
If you have any questions about a breast mass, call Dallas Surgical Group or schedule an appointment online.