Lumpy breasts

Originally Published: February 6, 2004 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: May 16, 2008
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Dear Alice,

I've been reading through your archives, but none have really helped me. I have lumps in my breasts that are there even when I'm not in my menstrual cycle. They're really big... kind of. And they're bugging me. What should I do?

— Worried

Dear Worried,

The benefit of a woman doing regular breast self-exams is not only to know her "normal" body, the terrain that is uniquely hers, but also to become so familiar as to be able to identify and document any change(s). Since you've noticed something that concerns you, this is the right time to see your health care provider to have your breasts examined. At your appointment, you can expect to give information to your provider, including:

  • the date of your last period
  • when you first noticed the lump(s)
  • whether the lump has grown larger or smaller since you first discovered it
  • whether you notice a change in the number of lumps you can feel
  • whether you or your family have a history of breast problems
  • whether you've noticed any nipple discharge
  • whether you're on any medication

It's normal for women's breasts to have an uneven consistency. However, distinct and/or new lumps or growths in or on the breast can be physically uncomfortable and/or psychologically upsetting, even frightening. Women often associate breast lumps with cancer, so it's important to remember that the majority of breast growths turn out to be benign (non-cancerous).

Monthly breast self-exams are essential to keep breasts healthy, and noticing new growths or lumps is a good reason to schedule an appointment with a health care provider. The Internet can be a good source of general information about breast health, allowing people to make informed decisions about their health, but you will not be able to get specific answers or advice about your breasts without seeing a health care provider. If you are a student at Columbia, you can schedule an appointment by calling x4-2284 or logging on to Open Communicator.

To learn more about breast growths in general, read the Related Q&As listed below and search the Go Ask Alice! archives. Then schedule an appointment with your health care provider; knowing the cause and any potential effects of the lumps in your breasts can give you some peace of mind.

Alice

May 14, 2008

21451

Hi.

I have fibrocystic breast disease, which basically means benign lumpy breasts. I've had this since my early 20's. The lumps come and go in time, and are either fluid-filled or cystic...

Hi.

I have fibrocystic breast disease, which basically means benign lumpy breasts. I've had this since my early 20's. The lumps come and go in time, and are either fluid-filled or cystic tissue (harder). They can be a little painful when hit the wrong way or hugged hard or at certain times of the month. Every year I get a mammogram plus an ultrasound, because i'm young and have dense tissue. The main reason for this is so that the lumps don't hide anything else and they want to see everything to ensure optimum health.

Anyway, hope this helps ease your mind, just go see your doctor and they will get you to a specialist. I did have to have a few removed which were rather large, but that was 10 years ago and I don't think they do that any more. It was no big deal to me.

July 13, 2007

21032
I have lumpy breasts too and its just some glands are lumpy it's not cancer or anything. The way you check is to make sure the lump you feel on one side is also on the other. Then you don't have to...
I have lumpy breasts too and its just some glands are lumpy it's not cancer or anything. The way you check is to make sure the lump you feel on one side is also on the other. Then you don't have to worry otherwise make an appointment with a doctor if you're worried or unsure.