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Breast Mass

breast mass, also known as a breast lump, is a localized swelling that feel different from the surrounding tissue.[1] Breast painnipple discharge, or skin changes may be present.[1] Concerning findings include masses that are hard, do not move easily, are of an irregular shape, or are firmly attached to surrounding tissue.[2]

Causes include fibrocystic changefibroadenomasbreast infectiongalactoceles, and breast cancer.[1] Breast cancer makes up about 10% of breast masses.[1] Diagnosis is typically by examinationmedical imaging, and tissue biopsy.[2] Tissue biopsy is often by fine needle aspiration biopsy.[3] Repeated examination may be required.[2]

Treatment depends on the underlying cause.[1] It may vary from simple pain medication to surgical removal.[1] Some causes may resolve without treatment.[4] Breast masses are relatively common.[2] It is the most common breast complaint with the women’s concern generally being that of cancer.[5][6]



The top findings when women seek evaluation of a breast lump

Finding Percentage
Fibrocystic breast changes
No Disease
Other benign mammary dysplasia and neoplasms
Breast cancer

How to find a breast lump at home!


An pictorial example of breast self-examination in six steps. Steps 1-3 involve inspection of the breast with the arms hanging next to the body, behind the head and in the side. Step 4 is palpation of the breast. Step 5 is palpation of the nipple. Step 6 is palpation of the breast while lying down.

Breast mass
Other namesBreast lump, breast tumor
Breast cancer.jpg
A breast lump associated with an inverted nipple and skin dimpling. The underlying cause was breast cancer.
SymptomsAn area of the breast that feel different than the surrounding tissue[1]
CausesFibrocystic changefibroadenomasbreast infectiongalactocelesbreast cancer[1]
Diagnostic methodExaminationmedical imagingtissue biopsy[2]
TreatmentDepends on the underlying cause[1]