Breast Lump In Women

3 mins read

Dr. Mir Anayat

frauenbrust abtasten - vorsorgeuntersuchungBreast lumps, bumps and discharge other than milk may be worrisome. Many women shy away or out of ignorance seek late medical intervention where the possibilities of better treatment get minimized.

Breast in women doesn’t only contribute to her beauty; however, it is the most vital part of her biological and sexual process. Breast is made up of many glands and ducts which pour out the secretion through the nipple surrounded by areola. Fat deposition and growth of ducts start taking place from puberty due to hormonal changes. The milk producing mammary glands are connected to breast surface by lactiferous duct which get filled with milk during lactation.

In women breast changes are common and these changes start from puberty to menopause. They occur especially during monthly cycles, pregnancy and as a part of aging.  Sometimes feeling of breast lumps by chance or during medical examination can be a part of normal structure within the breast.

Most of the breast lumps are normal, noncancerous or benign. Benign lumps do not affect your long term health. Some breast lumps may warn you as a sign of cancer. Wisdom lies always in getting a proper medical evaluation at once you discover a lump in your breast. These lumps may develop at any age but hormonal changes in the body influence them much, in some cases they disappear naturally. Breast lumps in some babies develop due to maternal estrogen and gradually clears as the level of hormone reduces in their bodies. Sometimes adolescent boys also get breast lumps during puberty. This is a temporary phenomenon and the lumps disappear in couple of months.

Benign or nonmalignant causes of Lump

Breast lumps could have many possible causes which include; cysts filled with fluid or milk during breast feeding. Fibrocystic in which breast feels lumpy in texture and occasionally accompanied by pain. Fibroadenoma is a noncancerous state in which lumps feel rubbery, nodular and mobile within the breast. Mastitis, an infection of the breast. Lipoma, a fatty lump. Intraductal papilloma, a noncancerous tumor in milk duct.

Cancerous Symptoms

As most of the breast lumps are noncancerous but you need to worry if you notice following changes in your breast, which advocate early medical evaluation to rule out breast cancer.

  • An existing lump which changes or grows in size.

  • Discovering a new growth with a noticeably change in that area than of the rest.

  • If you find a lump during menstruation and it does not disappear after it finishes.

  • Noticing a bloody discharge from the nipple or an inverted nipple which was not before.

  • The skin on the breast getting red or begins to pucker like an orange peel. If you notice unusual bruise without any apparent reason.

  • Women with pain in breast are more worried about cancer but it is not a common sign of breast cancer.

It has been found that 6% of women with breast cancer complain of pain. The risk of breast lump to develop cancer grows in old age and with family history of cancer.

Women should always be familiar with her breasts, the way they normally feel so that they easily catch any abnormality. Breasts usually vary in consistency. The inner and lower part usually feels soft while as the upper and outer part feels firm. During menstrual period breasts can become tender or lumpy. The older you get, the breasts tend to be less dense and loose. Knowing your breast and performing self examination may let you know about early changes in them so that you can report to doctor at the earliest.

It is important for a doctor to know the causes of breast lump, before designing a treatment plan. All the breast lumps does not require treatment.

For infections antibiotics are usually prescribed and cysts may be drained or may disappear on their own.  Injuries needs time to heal and some lumps like fibroadenoma many a times does not need to be removed. Breast cancer needs proper treatment depending type of cancer and its spread in surrounding areas.  It is always important, not to jump to conclusions if you have breast lump as causes are many. It needs proper evaluation and testing before reaching to some conclusion. Besides performing proper physical examination, most commonly test performed are mammogram  X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imagining(MRI), fine needle aspiration and biopsy.

Studies and research over the period of time has found effectiveness of homeopathic medicine in breast lumps however in breast cancer the treatment along with conventional intervention has shown efficacy in reducing the side effects after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Moreover the quality of life improved in those cancer patients who took homeopathy along with conventional medicine.

In 2013, a study looked at the effects of 5 homeopathic remedies on particular cells in the immune system called natural killer cells (NKCs). Natural killer cells are important in killing cancer cells. The remedies were Coenzyme Compositum, Ubichinon Compositum, Glyoxal Compositum, Katalysatoren and Traumeel. Some trials looked at the immune cells in the laboratory in test tubes. Other trials measured the cells in the blood of patients with advanced cancer. The researchers found that the homeopathic preparations increased the cell killing ability of the natural killer cells. Though the study was very small but the authors felt that these homoeopathic preparations could be used to boost the immune system in people with advanced cancer.

The article first appeared in print edition of June 29, 2016

 The author is the medical practitioner and Assistant Editor (Health) with The Legitimate. He is trained in drug de-addiction and Mental health at NIMHANS.

Latest from Archives