Benign breast lumps means breast lumps that are not cancerous. Nearly 80% of breast lumps are noncancerous, that is benign. The edges of benign breast lumps are smooth and you can move them around slightly. They tend to occur in both the breasts.
If there is doubt as to whether the breast lump is benign or cancerous, you need to undergo a needle biopsy of the lump. The types of benign breast lumps are cysts, galactocele, fibroadenoma, phyllodes tumor and pseudolumps.
Benign Breast Lumps Types And Treatment
These are benign sacs of tissue filled with fluid. They usually occur in women in their 40s, often appearing suddenly. They are usually multiple. They may occur in both breasts and can mimic cancerous tissue. The lump will be smooth and spongy, water balloon like.
Their size can change during menstrual cycle. They can be superficial or deep, sometimes almost near the chest wall. When they are deep it is more difficult to diagnose because it is not easy to feel them through the overlying firm and dense breast tissue. Diagnosis can be confirmed by aspiration and/or ultrasound.
The treatment is aspiration of fluid within the cyst, which deflates the cyst. About 30% will recur after treatment and require reaspiration. Examination of cyst fluid is not routinely done. If the cyst fluid is blood-stained or the cyst reforms repeatedly, a core biopsy or local excision for examining the tissue is advisable to rule out cancer.
Galactocele is a rare, solitary cyst beneath the areola of breast. Its occurrence can be dated to the period of lactation. There is some association with the use of oral contraceptives. It occurs because the outlet of a breast duct is blocked by a protein plug.
Infection does not occur inside a galactocele because there is no chance for contamination of milk inside due to the protein plug blocking access to outside. They do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Diagnosis is confirmed by ultrasound and/or fine needle aspiration biopsy.
Galactocele tends to resolve by itself without any intervention once lactation has ceased. Draining of galactocele may not always be successful because the presence of the protein plug may lead to it again getting filled with milk.
Fibroadenoma is the most common benign breast lump. These tend to occur in women between the ages of 15 and 25 years, although they can also occur in older women.
They can grow up to 2-3 cm in size. However, giant fibroadenomas can also occur during puberty, which are over 5 cm in diameter. Fibroadenoma is well circumscribed by a capsule. It tends to be superficial. It will be a round lump, which is firm or hard, painless and movable.
The indications for treatment are the patient’s desire for its removal, its large size or biopsy shows suspicious cells. The fibroadenoma can be treated by excision, laser ablation or cryoablation.
These benign tumors were formerly known as serocystic disease of Brodie or cystosarcoma phyllodes. They are more common in women over the age of 40 years. They are large with an unevenly protuberant surface and movable on the chest wall. Overlying skin can become ulcerated due to pressure.
Treatment is enucleation or wide local excision. If the tumor is massive or recurrent, affected breast needs to be removed (mastectomy).
These can be scar tissue, dead (necrotic) fat or hardened silicone. Dead fat can occur in the breast due to local trauma. It will be in the form of round, firm or hard and painless lump. Diagnosis is by ultrasound and/or needle biopsy. Treatment is surgical removal.
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