Different types of benign breast conditions can affect the breast. Some require treatment, and others will go away on their own.
While most benign breast conditions aren't life-threatening, some types can increase the risk of developing breast cancer and may require follow-up tests or exams.
How do I know if what I'm feeling is normal?
The first step is to follow up with a trained healthcare provider. This can be a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant. After a physical examination, they can determine which type of breast imaging is needed.
Mammograms, which remain the gold standard screening technique, effectively detect breast cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable and curable. Today both 2D and 3D imaging are used. In addition, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are utilized in high-risk screening and further evaluation of a known issue.
Ultrasound helps to determine if a mass is solid or liquid, and MRI allows for a more thorough, comprehensive view. This additional imaging is important to determine whether the area is a cyst or fibroadenoma. Fluid-filled areas are typically seen with cysts, while masses that appear solid can be an indication of fibroadenoma or breast cancer.
Most people's breasts are not uniform in texture and often have a "lumpy, bumpy" feel. This is due to the different breast tissue types, like the ductal-lobular (milk production) components, the stroma, the fibrous tissue that forms the structural component that supports the breast, and adipose (fat) tissue.