A lump found in the breast during an exam is one of the most common and recognized symptoms of breast cancer. But discovering a lump doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a cancer diagnosis. Lumps or tumors found in the breasts or other parts of the body are sometimes non-cancerous and do not cause any health issues. If you find a lump, have a medical professional determine if it is cancerous.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
It is essential to keep in mind that breast cancer affects different people in different ways, so some people will have the same symptoms and others will not. Some patients have no signs or symptoms at all.
Some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A new lump in either the breast or underarm area
- Changes in the size and shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of the skin
- Pulling in of the nipple or any pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge, including blood, that is not breast milk
While these are common symptoms of breast cancer, they can also occur with other health conditions. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor if you have any of the symptoms listed above or if you have any concerns at all.
The Different Types of Lumps Found in the Breast
Various types of lumps or tumors can be found in the breast. Those that are benign, fibroadenomas, malignant, or papilloma are all non-cancerous. However, they may still have the same symptoms, such as tenderness or discharge, associated with cancerous lumps.
With early breast cancer, the cancerous lump is confined to the breast only. Early tumors are usually an inch or less in size and are often present as long as eight years before they are large enough to be detected. An advanced breast cancer tumor will spread from the breast to the lymph nodes located in the armpit, chest, or neck.
Disseminated breast cancer occurs when the advanced tumor has grown to affect the adjacent lymph nodes and other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, and bones, through metastasis.
What Are Signs that a Lump Might Be Cancerous?
Lumps in the breast are common. Those that are not cancerous will usually go away on their own or not cause any issues. A new lump that does not go away over time, unexplained redness and swelling, skin irritation and itchiness, or a rash on the breast could indicate that the lump is more severe and should be checked out.
Symptoms that are specific to invasive breast cancer include the following.
- Change in breast color
- Itchy or irritated breasts
- Changes in touch, such as the breasts, may feel hard, warm, or tender
- Peeling or flaking of the skin at or around the nipple
- Thickening of the breast lump
- Pitting or redness of the breast skin
Where to Go for Testing and Care for Breast Cancer
If you find a lump during an exam, you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible for testing. While many patients discover lumps on their own during a self-exam, only a doctor can determine whether the lump is cancerous or not. The experts here at BASS Medical Group are here to help with lab work and consultation to put your mind at ease. Get in touch with us today for more information.