Not always cancer, recognize the characteristics and causes of lumps in the breast

Not always cancer, recognize the characteristics and causes of lumps in the breast

donutmedialab.comFinding a lump in the breast can make you anxious. Maybe you already think that the lump is breast cancer. But don’t worry, a lump in the breast is not always cancer. This condition can be something else, such as a breast tumor that is not serious.

So, what are the characteristics of a lump in the breast, including a tumor and how to distinguish it from cancer? What types of benign tumors can occur in the breast?

What are the characteristics of lumps and benign tumors in the breast?

Lump in the breast can happen to anyone, both women and men. A lump can usually be felt when there is a specific area of ​​the breast that swells and protrudes.

The American Cancer Society says that most changes or lumps in the breast, including tumors, are benign. However, it is possible that the lump that appears is cancer.

The definition of a tumor is an abnormally growing mass of tissue. Broadly speaking, there are two types of tumors, namely noncancerous tumors or benign tumors and tumors that are cancerous or also called malignant tumors.

To find out whether the lump is benign or not, generally a medical examination is required. However, there are some characteristics of benign breast tumors that you need to know and pay attention to for early detection of breast cancer.

Here are some of the characteristics of noncancerous tumors in the breast:

  • Tends to be easy to move or shift when touched.
  • Have clear boundaries.
  • Oval or round in shape (usually tastes like marbles).
  • Its appearance tends to follow the menstrual cycle.
  • It may be painful or not at all.
  • Growth is slow.

When to go to the doctor?

Whatever symptoms and changes in your breasts you feel, you should immediately consult a doctor. However, you need to be aware of some of the symptoms and characteristics that may be associated with malignant tumors or breast cancer, such as lumps that don’t go away after menstruation, lumps that grow bigger and faster, changes in breast skin, and other symptoms of breast cancer.

If these various symptoms have appeared, there is no need to delay anymore to see a doctor. The sooner you go to the doctor, the sooner your problem will be resolved.

What causes benign breast lumps and tumors?

The appearance of lumps and tumors in the breast can occur for several reasons. Quoted from the Cleveland Clinic, here are some causes of the appearance of lumps or noncancerous breast tumors:

  • Breast tissue changes.
  • Breast infection.
  • Scar tissue from a breast injury.
  • Hormonal fluctuations, especially during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Medicines that may cause tumors or pain in the breast, such as birth control pills and hormone therapy.
  • Caffeinated drinks.

Types of lumps and tumors in the breast

A lump in the breast can be detected when you do a breast self-examination (BSE). However, it is not necessarily the lump that you feel is cancer. Several types of lumps and tumors that may appear in the breast, including:

1. Fibrocystic

Most breast lumps are fibrocystic. This condition affects about 50-60 percent of women worldwide.

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Fibrocystic is a condition when fluid-filled cysts form along with areas of fibrosis in one or both areas of the breast. The fibrosis is the thickening of breast tissue, so it feels a bit hard or rubbery and can generally be felt by touch.

Apart from swelling of the breast, fibrocystic changes may also cause pain or even discharge from the nipple. Fibrosis can also occur on its own without any cysts forming.

These breast changes generally occur in premenopausal women due to hormonal changes. This condition can also get worse before your menstrual period and improve after your period ends.

Therefore, fibrocystic breast changes generally do not require medical treatment. This condition is not a risk factor for breast cancer.

2. Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenoma or mammary fibroadenoma is one of the most common types of benign tumors experienced by women. This is a tumor consisting of glandular tissue and stromal (connective) tissue, which generally occurs due to changes in hormone levels.

The characteristics of these tumor lumps, which tend to be round like marbles and have clear boundaries. If pressed, the lump can shift, usually feels hard, solid, or rubbery, and is painless.

Sometimes, fibroadenoma tumors stop growing or shrink on their own. In this condition, you may not need any medical treatment.

However, this lump can continue to grow until it becomes very large, or is called a giant fibroadenoma. In this condition, doctors generally recommend removing the lump.

Fibroadenoma can be experienced by women at any age, but this condition is often found in women aged 20-30 years. Lumps in the breast generally will not develop into cancer.

3. Intraductal papilloma

Intraductal papillomas are noncancerous benign lumps or tumors that grow in the milk ducts of the breast (ductal). This type of tumor consists of glandular tissue, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels.

Usually an intraductal papilloma is palpated as a single large lump near the nipple, or is called a solitary papilloma. However, intraductal papillomas can also be in the form of several small lumps located far from the nipple, or are called multiple papillomas.

Solitary papillomas generally do not increase the risk of developing breast cancer, unless other breast changes, such as atypical hyperplasia, appear. Atypical hyperplasia is a precancerous condition that describes the presence of a collection of abnormal cells in the breast.

While multiple papillomas generally can increase a person’s breast cancer later in life. Therefore, although benign, this type of tumor needs to be removed through a surgical procedure. The intraductal papilloma often occurs in women aged 35-55 years.

4. Traumatic fat necrosis (traumatic fat necrosis)

Traumatic fat necrosis occurs when there is a scar on the breast as a result of an injury, after breast surgery, or radiation therapy. This condition causes breast tissue to break down and scar tissue to replace it.

As a result, a hard, painful lump is formed. In addition to lumps, breasts can also secrete fluid that is not milk.

This type of lump is more common in women with very large breasts and generally does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

5. Lipoma

Another tumor in the breast is a lipoma. Lipomas are slow-growing fatty lumps that are most often located between the skin and muscle layers.

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Lipomas can grow in any part of the body, including the breast. These lumps are not cancer and are usually harmless.

This condition is usually characterized by various symptoms, such as lumps that are soft and somewhat firm to the touch, can move when touched, are generally less than 5 cm in size, and may or may not be painful.

6. Breast cyst

Another common form of breast lump is a breast cyst. In general, breast cysts are different from tumors.

While a tumor is an area of ​​abnormally growing tissue, a cyst is a lump or bag filled with fluid. However, sometimes the two are still difficult to distinguish without a medical examination.

Breast cyst lumps are generally round or oval in shape and filled with fluid. They can be very small, but they can also be so large that you can feel the lump when you touch it.

Cysts can also be painful, feel tender, and can be moved to the touch. These symptoms can also get worse as your period approaches.

Breast cysts can occur at any age. However, this condition is most commonly found in women in their 40s. Like some benign tumors, breast cysts do not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

7. Breast cancer

Breast cancer lumps are also known as malignant tumors. This type of lump is the most worrying because it can be life threatening.

Malignant breast tumors can originate from the milk ducts (ducts), mammary glands (lobules), or the connective tissue in them. Infected tissue determines the type of breast cancer experienced.

From these tissues, cancer cells in tumors can grow rapidly and spread to healthy tissues and surrounding lymph nodes, and even to other organs of the body (metastasize).

If it has metastasized, the chances of recovery are very low. On the other hand, when breast cancer lumps are found early, the chances of recovery are greater. Therefore, it is important to always detect breast cancer early.

Breast cancer lumps can appear together with other symptoms of breast cancer, such as changes in the nipple or breast skin, discharge from the nipple, and other abnormal changes.

What to do when a lump or tumor appears in the breast?

You may panic when you find a lump in the breast. If this happens to you, stay calm and it’s best to follow the steps below to make sure.

  • Check your breasts again

You should check again by touching all parts of the breast, both on the left and right. In order for the results to be valid, do the examination after or long before your menstrual period. Also check if there are other symptoms besides the lump in your breast.

  • Check the menstrual calendar again

If you find a lump, try checking your menstrual calendar again. It could be that this lump is just a sign that you are about to have your period.

  • Consultation with a doctor

If you still feel uncomfortable and worried about the lump in the breast, you should immediately consult a doctor to be sure.

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When consulting with your doctor, you may need to have some breast cancer tests, such as mammography, breast MRI, or breast ultrasound, especially if your lump is suspected to be a serious condition. Other tests, such as a ductogram, may also be needed if you have symptoms of nipple discharge.

You may also need a breast biopsy or other tests if a tumor is found, to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

However, don’t worry, most of these test results show that tumors that appear in the breast are not associated with cancer. Always consult with your doctor about the right screening test for you.

How is the treatment of lumps and benign tumors in the breast?

Some lumps and benign tumors in the breast generally do not require medical treatment. The reason is, some lumps, such as fibrocysts, can disappear on their own after your menstrual period.

However, some lumps and tumors may require medical treatment because it is feared that they will get bigger and increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Treatment may also be needed if you experience pain or discomfort in your breasts.

Some medications and medications that may be given to treat breast lumps or tumors include:

  • Fine-needle aspiration. This treatment is used to remove fluid-filled cysts.
  • Surgery or surgery to remove a lump or tumor in the breast (lumpectomy).
  • Oral antibiotics to treat infection.

While most don’t need treatment, some people with certain types of lumps and tumors, such as fibroadenomas, may need regular medical exams. This is necessary to see if the existing tumor grows so large that it eventually requires treatment.

Consult with your doctor how regularly you need to undergo this examination.

How to prevent lumps and tumors in the breast?

Basically, lumps and tumors in the breast can not be prevented. Because, this is often related to hormone levels which are already common in women.

However, it is important to recognize your breasts by doing regular breast self-exams (BSE). This can help you find lumps or tumors early so that treatment can be done immediately, if needed.

If the lump is cancer-related, BSE can also help prevent your breast cancer from getting worse.

In addition to BSE, you also need to continue to apply a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and eating a balanced nutritious diet. In fact, a study found, consuming certain beverages, such as tea, is believed to help prevent tumors in the breast.

According to a study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics in 2017, there may be changes in gene activity in the bodies of women who drink tea regularly. In this study, the changes that occur are closely related to the regulation of female estrogen hormone levels.

Thus, women who drink tea can prevent the growth of breast tumors, which can be caused by excessive estrogen production. However, experts still need further research to understand exactly what the relationship between nutrition and content in tea is with changes in genes in the woman’s body.

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