Types of breast lumps

Fibroadenomas

Fibroadenomas breast masses result from an excess growth in glandular and connective tissue and is most common among women in their 20s and 30s, or those who are pregnant.

Fibroadenomas breast lumps have the following characteristics:

  • round, firm, and rubbery masses
  • masses that are as large as a small plum
  • masses that bounce or move slightly when pressed
  • masses that are painless

A mammogram and ultrasound may help with the diagnosis of this benign condition; however only a biopsy involving a sample of breast tissue and laboratory examination can determine the nature of this type of breast mass. A fibroadenomas may repair on its own, or a doctor may recommend its surgical removal.

Breast Infection

There are two major types of breast infections, or mastitis, that typically occur.

One form of mastitis is caused by a bacterial infection that typically enters the breast tissue during breastfeeding. This condition is usually treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of this type of breast infection include the following:

  • a breast lump or thickened skin that develops into an abscess

Older or postmenopausal women may develop periductal mastitis in which milk ducts become inflamed. The exact cause of this condition is unknown; however, the following are symptoms of this type of breast infection:

  • inflammation of milk ducts in the dark skin surrounding the nipple (areola)
  • development of breast lump
  • breast pain
  • nipple discharge
  • nipple retraction

Mastitis that does not respond to antibiotics or is not associated with pregnancy should be evaluated for inflammatory breast cancer.

 

Fat Necrosis due to Trauma or Injury

Fat necrosis may develop as a result of breast trauma or breast injury due to an accident or surgery.

Your doctor may perform imaging tests such as a mammogram or ultrasound to ensure the breast lump is benign. The following are symptoms of fat necrosis:

  • scar tissue in the form of a breast lump that is firm, round, or movable
  • a painless breast lump if the injury is old
  • breast pain or bruising of the skin if injury is recent

If the breast mass persists and does not heal on its own, your doctor may recommend surgical removal.

Phyllodes Tumor

A phyllodes tumor is usually benign; however, in some rare cases, these breast tumors can be cancerous. This means that it is likely to receive imaging tests as well as a needle biopsy to assist in proper diagnosis of a phyllodes tumor.

These lumps develop between the connective tissue of the breasts and are usually painless. The lump should be monitored for any signs of growth and may require surgical removal. Contacting your doctor is crucial if you experience any of these unusual symptoms.

Intraductal Papilloma

Intraductal papilloma is a small, noncancerous growth in the milk duct and usually appears as a small lump behind or near the areola.

Discharge from the nipple may also occur, and is usually bloody. Imaging tests are required to diagnose this breast condition, and treatment typically involves surgical removal followed by further analysis of the tissue for breast cancer.

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