Don't panic if you discover a lump during a breast self-exam

Don't panic if you discover a lump during a breast self-exam

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - During a breast self-exam you may discover a lump or mass but experts say don't panic, that change in breast tissue is more common than you think.

Make an appointment with your doctor to make sure it's nothing serious.

"If there's been a change in the breast exam. If they feel something different compared to their exam a month ago and it's something they've never noticed before in a different area of the breast, that should be evaluated," explained Dr. Diane Radford.

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Diane Radford says knowing what your 'normal' breast tissue looks and feels like is important and that makes it easy to recognize something new or different.

Dr. Radford also says there are several things that may cause a lump, besides breast cancer.

  • You may notice breast lumps that come and go with their menstrual cycle, and this is perfectly normal.
  • Also common she says are non-cancerous growths like "cysts" or "connective tissue" conditions which can cause lumpiness and tenderness.
  • Injury to the breast can leave behind a mass of scar tissue.
  • An infection in the breast can also cause tissue changes and pain.

Dr. Radford says generally when a lump is found, certain characteristics are more worrisome than others.

"A cancer can feel somewhat irregular in texture. Lumps that you can compress, that can actually change in shape when you squeeze them, are usually just benign fatty lobules, which are part of the normal anatomy of the breast," Dr. Radford says.

Dr. Radford says a mass that doesn't compress is definitely something that needs to be checked out. If breast cancer is detected early, chances of a successful outcome are better.

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.