Finding a breast lump through self-examination is a frightening experience. While 80% of lumps are harmless, you still need to make an appointment with your doctor for further evaluation test you may be among the 20% who have cancer or other abnormalities.
Lumps do not always mean breast cancer, only a small percentage of breast lumps are cancerous. Refer to the list below that highlights the percentage of lumps that can be cancerous.
|Fibrocystic breast changes||40%|
|Other benign mammary displeases and neoplasm||13%|
What happens if a lump is found?
While some cysts need to be drained and other growths need to be surgically removed, a small percentage of lumps are cancerous. The cancerous ones often show up in imaging as irregular masses that are firm or hard, and appear to be attached to skin or tissue within the breast. Unlike having pain when you are hurt or injured, breast lumps are often painless. Warning signs and symptoms are not the same for every woman, and the only person who can tell you whether a lump is cancerous is your physician.
What to do if you just found a lump on your body?
When you find a lump on your own, your first move should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or gynaecologist, who will perform a Clinical Breast Examination and then schedule a more detailed mammogram, ultrasound.
The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 to 44 have the choice to start annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms. For women ages 45 to 54, mammograms should start every year, and at 55 years and up, mammograms should be conducted every two years.
Technologies that can help evaluate your lumps:
After mammograms, three other technologies are used to evaluate breast lumps: Ultrasound, needle biopsy, MRI
Modern diagnostic procedures are able to detect cancer in a minimally invasive way. Diagnostic mammograms go beyond the four pictures taken of the breast during a screening mammogram and more carefully examine areas of concern by compressing tissue and magnifying the images. Using current technology, the radiologist can zoom in on specific parts of the image to discern abnormalities.
Learning that you have a breast lump can be disconcerting, but should not be ignored. By promptly seeking medical attention, you can ease your mind and get the treatment you need early on. Most breast lumps are completely benign, but if your lump turns out to be cancerous or otherwise abnormal, your chances of survival over five years can be as high as 99%, if you have caught the problem before the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or more distant parts of the body.