Breast lumps - What does it indicate

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Breast lumps can come in various shapes and sizes. One normally experiences swelling and tenderness of the breast during periods which resolves once the period is over.

At times you may feel a lump in the breast that is either fixed or moving, it may or may not have definite borders or may be lumpy.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths worldwide. According to a research conducted by the Tata Memorial Hospital, 1 in every 18 women develops breast cancer in her lifetime. The incidence of women developing breast cancer was found to be higher in the urban, developed population.

However the lump is, it is very essential not ignore it. Visit the doctor and get the lump checked.

When to see the doctor?

  1. When the lump is red and painful.
  2. When you are experiencing fever and weakness along with it.
  3. When you have had the lump for a few days and it is not decreasing in size
  4. When the lump is steadily growing bigger in size.
  5. When the skin of the breast is appearing different, like an orange peel.
  6. When there is a discharge from the nipples.

The doctor will advise you to get a mammography done and in certain cases a biopsy may be required.

Not all lumps are cancerous. They can be due to a fibroadenoma, lipoma, mastitis, simple injury or as a side effect to oral contraceptive pills.

Preventive care:

  1. Breast cancer can run in the family. So if you have a family member who has suffered from breast cancer, it is doubly essential that you do not ignore any breast lump that you come across.
  2. Women who breast feed their babies have a lesser chance of developing breast cancer. But this does not mean that they can ignore the lump in the breast
  3. Go for regular checkups, especially if someone in your family has/had breast cancer.
  4. Have your first child before you turn thirty.