Early Detection is the Best Protection
Most breast lumps are benign or harmless; however, all should be checked. It's important to realize that breasts change over time - click here for normal breast changes to expect.
Below are some of the more common breast conditions that may cause lumps.
- Calcifications (calcium deposits) or microcalcifications (small calcifications) are the smallest particles visible on a mammogram. Calcifications are a normal occurrence in a woman’s breast tissue.
- Fibrocystic changes are the most common cause of breast lumps in women under age 50. The condition is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a reaction to overactive hormones.
- Cysts are single or multiple fluid-filled sacs that are not accompanied by an increase in fibrous tissue.
- Fibroadenomas are single, solid tumors made of fibrous and glandular tissue. They usually move when felt.
Beginning in your 20s perform regular Breast Self-Exam (BSE), a BSE can help you become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel.
Step 1: Lie on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder and use the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to check your right breast. Press using light, medium, and firm pressure in a circle without lifting your fingers while following an up and down pattern. Feel for changes in your breast, above and below your collarbone and in your armpits. Repeat on your left side.
Step 2: Stand in front of mirror to look for changes. Hold arms at your side and then over your head. Press your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles and then bend forward with your hands on your hips.
Report any changes or irregularities to your healthcare professional as soon as you notice them. It is recommended to receive a Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) about every 1 to 3 years. During this exam your healthcare professional will check your breasts.
If you are 40 or over, you should receive a mammogram and CBE yearly, it is preferable to schedule your annual CBE shortly before your annual mammogram so that any suspicious areas found during your CBE can be reviewed on the mammogram.
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