Breast Cancer

Breast Lumps

Do not panic if you discover a breast lump, particularly if you are young (less than 40 years old) and you do not have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A breast lump is more likely to be benign (non-cancerous) than malignant (cancer). Only 10% of breast lumps seen by doctors in breast clinics are cancers. However, if you find a breast lump do not delay in consulting your doctor!

What Causes Breast Lumps?

Common causes of lumps in the breast are shown in Table 4. See Chapter 2 for more details.

Simple cysts (benign) Fibrocystic disease (benign) Fibroadenoma Breast cancer (malignant)
Fluid-filled bag
Drained with needle
Small cysts + hard lumps
Variation of normal breast
Caused by female hormonal activity
Common in 30–40 years
Hard, smooth lump
Very mobile
Common in 20–30 years
Common in Afro-Caribbean women
Hard, irregular
May be fixed to chest
With or without puckered skin
With or without nipple drawn in
With or without discharge

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