Breast Cancer Lump: Types, Causes and Treatment

A lump in the breast that is hard, irregular, and different from the surrounding tissues formed due to cancer cells is known as a breast cancer lump. The skin covering the lump will be dimpled, red, and pitted like an orange. This lump changes the size and shape of the breast. After that, you notice a discharge from the nipple of the breast.

Causes of Breast Cancer Lump

Many tissues, nerves, lymph nodes, and blood vessels are present in the breast of the female, and each part of the breast impacts the sensation, working, and texture of the breast. These tissues, nerves, lymph nodes, and blood vessels can also affect breast lumps’ development. Some of the common causes of breast lumps are the following:

  • Cyst
  • Fat necrosis
  • Abscess or infection
  • Lipoma
  • Adenoma or fibroadenoma
  • Breast cancer

Types of Breast lumps

There are two types of breast lumps:

  • Noncancerous lump
  • Cancerous lump

Non-cancerous lump

Though any lump that forms in the body’s cells is referred to as a tumor, the point arises that not all tumors are cancerous. About 80% of breast lumps are noncancerous (benign).

The size, texture, and feel of the breast lump can also indicate whether it is cancerous or not. Some of the common types of noncancerous lumps are the following:

1. Breast cysts

The breast cyst is a noncancerous fluid-filled sac in the breast. It can be painful, but in most cases, it is painless. These cysts feel smooth and rubbery under the skin. It is rare in young women and most commonly found in women after 50.

There isn’t any apparent reason behind these cysts, but they can be caused due to hormonal problems related to menstruation. This cyst ranges from 2.5 to 5 cm in size. If the cysts are larger, they put excessive pressure on the other tissues, resulting in pain and uncomfortableness.

2. Abscesses

Abscesses are noncancerous lumps that sometimes develop in the breast and create pain. This skin always feels hot or solid and red due to the presence of Abscesses, and bacteria are the actual reason behind Abscesses development.

3. Adenoma

An adenoma is the growth of glandular breast tissues abnormally. The most common type of Adenoma present in the breast is Fibroadenomas, which usually affect women after age 30.

Fibroadenomas are noncancerous and accountable for 50% of breast biopsies. These are firm and round with smooth borders and often go away spontaneously.

4. Fat necrosis and lipoma

Fat necrosis usually occurs when the fatty tissues in the breast get damaged and broken down due to any internal or external issue. They can be painful and the reason behind the dimpling of the skin over the lump and nipple discharge. Lipoma is a benign fatty tumor that is painless and generally moveable.

5. Intraductal papillomas

Intraductal papillomas are flesh-colored growths that usually develop under the nipple and cause bloody discharge. Young women may get multiple growths of it, but the women who are older and near to menopause usually get only one.

Cancerous lumps

A Cancerous lump or tumor is usually hard or firm in shape. Cancerous lumps typically have an irregular shape and feel stuck in breast tissues or the skin. Usually, these cancerous lumps are not painful, especially in their earlier stages, and it usually develops in the upper outer quadrant of the breast or nipple. Some cancerous tumors can be painful, especially when they are larger in size and compress the other structure in the breast.

Treatment of breast lumps:

The treatment of any breast cancer lump usually depends on the cause behind it. During diagnosis, the doctor may carry out a physical examination and recommends other tests such as ultrasound or mammogram to know the exact location of the lump, type of lump, and reason behind the lump development.

If the lump is a cyst or fibrous, the doctor may recommend only monitoring, not any further action. If the lump is an abscess, the doctor may use a fine needle to drain it and suggest some antibiotics for futher treatment.

A complete biopsy will be taken if that cancer is suspected in the lump. The treatment methods for cancerous lumps usually involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery, depending on the cancer stage. Another test can also be recommended in which the doctor may check the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene; if these genes are present and still breast cancer is accured, then preventive surgery will be recommended to prevent a recurrence.

Reference list:

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186084#noncancerous
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/suspicious-breast-lumps/symptoms-causes/syc-20352786
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