Breast Lumps

Chest | Gynecology | Breast Lumps (Symptom)


Breast lumps are characterized by swellings that feel different from the normal surrounding breast tissue, any mass, or cyst that can be felt in the breast tissue. It is a symptom or sign for a large list of conditions.

As approximately 10% of breast lumps ultimately lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer, therefore it is important for women with a breast lump to receive appropriate evaluation. Once known as fibrocystic disease or fibroadenosis, this is now considered to be a variation of normal. Lumpy breasts do not increase the risk of developing breast cancer. However, any new, distinct, or separate lump should be assessed by a doctor.

For a young woman, a single lump is most likely to be a fibroadenoma. This noncancerous growth is usually round, firm and rubbery, causes no pain, and can be moved about beneath the skin using the fingertips. For an older woman, a lump is more likely to be a noncancerous, fluid-filled breast cyst. Types of breast lumps include cysts and abscess lumps, growths (adenoma) and fatty lumps.


There are many causes of breast lumps. Some of these causes are harmless, while others can be painful and/or dangerous. Causes of breast lumps include infections, injuries, non-cancerous growths, and cancer.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Breast lumps are often discovered during a breast self-examination or during a routine check-up and treatments vary depending on the type of lump. Standard breast cysts and abscesses require drainage for treatment, while sebaceous cysts and fatty lumps are best treated by surgical removal.