Most breast lumps are detected by women themselves during a routine self examination. Detecting a breast lump should not send alarm bells ringing in your head, as most breast lumps are noncancerous or benign growths. However, a small percentage of lumps detected in the breasts can turn out to be malignant or cancerous growths.
An Insight Into Breast Lumps
Any bulge or localized swelling of the breast or breasts is referred to as a breast lump. A breast lump feels considerably different from the rest of the breast tissue. Typically, a breast nodule or lump will feel like a hard protrusion.
If you observe the skin surrounding the breast lump, you will notice a marked change in its appearance. The skin may appear distended, have an angry red color and seem dimpled. Breast lumps can be the result of numerous factors.
Fat deposits, adenomas, malignant tumors, sebaceous cysts or breast cysts can all cause a bulge in either or both breasts. With breasts cancer rates rising significantly in recent years, it has become imperative to teach women how to self examine their breasts.
Breast self examination – which can be done either in a standing or lying position – is important to perceive any changes in the appearance of the breasts and to detect the formation of a breast lumps. Ideally, monthly breast self examination, to discover breast lumps, should be followed by an annual clinical examination of the breasts.
Ways To Detect Lumps In The Breasts
Women should familiarize themselves with the normal consistency or texture of their breasts, so as to be able to quickly determine any changes which might take place in their breasts. There are numerous ways to detect lumps in the breasts. Through this article we will examine some simple steps to detect lumps in the breasts.
Visually Examine The Breasts
It is important to visually examine the breasts by standing in front of a full length mirror. Take time to observe your breasts.
Look for physical changes like swelling or redness of the skin and soreness in and around the nipples. The best time to visually examine your breasts is while you are bathing or dressing up.
Feel The Breasts
One of the best ways to check the breasts for any lumps or change in texture is to lie supine. When you lie down, the tissues which line the breasts are spread evenly. If you are examining your right breast, place your right arm under your head or place a small cushion or pillow under the right shoulder.
Next, use the middle three fingers of the left hand to gently feel the breasts beginning from the underarm, and moving slowly to the top of the breast. Move your fingers in a circular motion while simultaneously varying the pressure which is applied on the breasts from light to deep.
Note The Timing
If you notice a hard, rubbery lump or observe a thickening of the breast tissue right before your monthly menstrual cycle, you must not get unduly worried.
The hard lumps in the breast are nothing but a benign condition known as fibrocystic breasts. Fibrocystic breast condition is the result of fluctuating hormones particularly progesterone and estrogen.
Squeeze The Nipples
Next squeeze the nipples gently. Look for nipple discharge. If you have nipple discharge approach a doctor for further examination. Nipple discharge can be caused by an underlying infection or it can be indicative of a more serious condition like breast cancer.
Nipple discharge which has a yellowish or whitish hue may be indicative of the presence of malignant breast lumps. You should also look for wart like growths inside the nipple which are benign intra-ductal papillomas.
Check The Underarms
Sometime lumps can be detected under the arms as well. So, make it a point to check your underarms while examining your breasts for lumps.
Any lump detected under the arms should be taken just as seriously as a lump which is detected on the breast.
Watch Out For Fat Necrosis
Sometimes a painful lump in the breast can be the result of a major blow or injury to the breast. Women with large breasts who have suffered an injury to their breasts are more likely to suffer from fat necrosis or benign lumps.
Approach A Doctor
If you have detected a painful lump in the breast along with nipple discharge, then approach a doctor post haste. A small percentage of breast lumps can turn out to be malignant growths.
A detailed physical examination is conducted by a doctor to determine the kind of lump that is present in your breast. Depending on the type of breast lump that has been detected, a doctor may prescribe further tests like a mammogram.
Photo Credit: http://m.medlineplus.gov/ency/presentations/100003.htm