Most women know of the importance of performing breast self exams regularly and would like to know what does a breast lump feel like? After all, when you do perform that self exam you need to know what exactly you’re looking for.
So when you perform your monthly breast self exam what are you looking for and what does a breast lump feel like? A breast lump feels like a mass of tissue in the breast which is unlike the surrounding tissue. It could be soft or hard, the margins may be smooth or irregular, but should be able to feel the margin of the lump distinctly as against the rest of the breast tissue.
It is basically any inconsistency that you’re looking for each month when you examine your breasts visually as well as by palpation.
Also it is a consistent breast mass that you’re looking for and not one that comes and goes (this could be related to your menstrual cycle).
What does a breast lump feel like when it’s benign?
It is important to remember that breast lumps are not necessarily cancerous and that only about 10 percent of lumps are diagnosed as being malignant.
Non cancerous or benign lumps could be cysts, fibroadenomas, an abcess, fatty lumps, and other benign masses. Regardless of what does a breast lump feel like; it should be investigated to see the nature and cause of its appearance.
A cyst will feel rather like a small balloon under the skin, and will be soft and movable. It is a fluid filled sac that is harmless in a vast majority of cases.
On the other hand fibroadenomas can feel round and lumpy and fibrous and will be firmer to the touch. These are usually easy to locate and may be nearer the surface of the breast and is more common among younger women.
Sometimes a lump is termed as a ‘pseudo’ lump and could consist of scar tissue, dead fat cells, material used for breast enhancement of even a rib bone.
What does a breast lump feel like when it’s malignant?
While most benign breast masses feel softer and are seen as being movable, cancerous masses are harder and are generally of a more fixed kind. Use the thumb and the fingers to try and hold the lump to check for the irregularity or mobility of the lump.
The surface of the lump could be irregular if malignant and may seem attached to the skin or tissue deep in the breast. The other indication of malignancy is pain and the lump could be anywhere in the breast or near the nipple.
What should be look for other than a breast lump?
It is important to know not only what does a breast lump feel like but also what it looks like. You should be visually examining your breast each month for any puckering, dimpling, any orange peel effect, redness, swelling, warmth, any change in size, shape or appearance, any discharge, itching, thickening or discoloration. Any such changes should be reported and examined.