Discovering a mass in your breast can be an alarming and stressful experience. It is important to remember that not all breast masses are cancerous, but all breast lumps should be fully evaluated by a qualified physician. A breast mass is defined as the growth of an excess amount of tissue that develops within the breast. Breast lumps are often found during a self breast exam, a clinical breast exam administered by a physician, or by mammogram. If you find a breast mass during a self breast exam, seek medical attention within a week. Your doctor will most likely recommend the area be tested. If your doctor does not recommend the area be tested, but the breast mass is causing you anxiety, schedule an appointment with us today.

There are several tests that exist to test breast masses. The most common of which are:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)
  • Core needle biopsy
  • Stereotactic biopsy

All of these tests involve sampling a very small area of tissue from the breast mass. The tissue is then sent to a lab, so that specialized doctors called pathologists can study the tissue sample in detail. The pathologist will then render a diagnosis based on their findings. There are many diagnoses, both benign (not cancerous) and malignant (cancerous), that can be found in a breast tissue sample. Examples of benign diagnoses include:

  • Fibroadenoma
  • Cysts
  • Hyperplasia
  • Intraductal papilloma
  • Sclerosing adenosis
  • Radial scars
  • Benign phyllodes tumors
  • Mastitis

There are two breast disease diagnoses that are considered benign, but increase your risk for developing cancer later in life. These conditions indicate the presence of rapidly growing abnormal cells, but these abnormal cells are not cancerous.  These diagnoses are:

  • Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia
  • Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia

Breast masses can also be a symptom of cancer. There are two four main types of breast cancer:

  • Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)
  • Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)
  • Invasive Ductal Carinoma
  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

If you have questions or are worried about a mass in your breast, see a breast specialist as soon as you can.