Breast Lumps Not Always Cancerous
Posted April 14, 2004 3:21 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Finding a lump in the breast is enough to scare any woman. What happens if a lump is found? Doctors say do not panic.
"The majority of breast lumps are not cancer-- they're something else," said Dr. Julie Taber, Rex Breast Care director.
Something else includes fibroadenomas, cysts or fibrocystic breast changes -- the most common causes of breast lumps in women under 50.
"If you have something that feels like a marble and you can move it all around, it's probably not a cancer -- although it may be," Taber said.
Hard lumps that do not move are more alarming.
"Something that feels like its attached to a rib or attached to the chest wall or very hard. Also, something that is increasing rapidly in size is something that's suspicious," Taber said.
Taber says regular breast exams are the best way to know if a lump is new or suspicious.
"It's important to know what your breasts feel like and how they change," she said.
Do not be afraid to ask your doctor if you find something.
After losing her cousin to breast cancer, Ann Kersey does not leave anything to chance. She gets a mammogram every year.
"It's just like having a regular physical -- you do it for preventive measures, not because you're scared or anything like that. You just want to know," she said.
Women should tell their doctor if the skin around their breasts changes or if a lump develops under an arm. Contrary to what many believe, experts say pain is not generally a symptom of breast cancer.