January 01, 2007

Womens Health -Types of Breast Changes


Breast changes occur in almost all women. Most of these changes are not cancer. However, some breast changes may be signs of cancer. Breast changes that are not cancer are called benign.

Most women have some type of lumpiness in their breasts. Some areas may be more dense than others and can feel lumpy in an exam. What you are feeling may be glandular breast tissue.

Breast Changes Due to Your Period
Many women have swelling, tenderness, and pain in their breasts before and sometimes during their periods. You may also feel one or more lumps during this time because of extra fluid in your breasts.

Because some lumps are caused by normal hormone changes, your health care provider may suggest watching the lump for a month or two to see if it changes or goes away.

Single Lumps
Single lumps can appear at any time and come in various types and sizes. Most lumps are not cancer, but your health care provider should always check the lump carefully. He or she may do more tests to make sure the lump is not cancer.

Check with your health care provider if you notice any kind of lump. Even if you had a lump in the past that turned out to be benign, you can't be sure that a new lump is also benign.

Nipple Discharge
Nipple discharge is common for some women. It is fluid that comes from the nipple in different colors or textures. Usually, it is not a sign of cancer. For example, birth control pills and other medicines, such as sedatives, can cause a little discharge. Certain infections also cause nipple discharge. However, for women who are going through or have passed menopause, nipple discharge can be a sign of cancer.

See your doctor if you have nipple discharge for the first time, or a change in your discharge's color or texture. He or she may send a sample of the discharge to be checked at a lab

Adapted from National Cancer Institute