Breast lumps


A breast lump is a growth of tissue that develops within your breast. It may be described as a mass, growth, swelling, thickness or fullness.

A breast lump can vary in the way it looks and feels. If you have a breast lump, you may notice:

  • A distinct lump with definite borders
  • A thickened, slightly more prominent area in your breast that’s different from surrounding breast tissue
  • Other breast changes, such as redness, dimpling or pitting of the skin
  • One breast that’s noticeably larger than the other (breast asymmetry)
  • Nipple changes, such as a nipple that’s pulled inward (nipple inversion) or spontaneous fluid discharge from your nipple
  • Breast pain or tenderness

Sometimes, a breast lump is a sign of breast cancer. That’s why you should seek prompt medical evaluation. Fortunately, however, most breast lumps result from noncancerous (benign) conditions.


A breast lump can develop as a result of conditions such as:

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Breast cysts
  3. Fibroadenoma
  4. Fibrocystic breasts
  5. Hamartoma, a noncancerous tumor in the breast
  6. Injury or trauma to the breast
  7. Intraductal papilloma, a noncancerous, wart-like growth in a milk duct
  8. Lipoma
  9. Mastitis
  10. Milk cyst (galactocele)


Make an appointment with your doctor to have a breast lump evaluated, especially if:

  • The breast lump is new or unusual and feels different from surrounding tissue or from tissue in your other breast
  • The breast lump doesn’t go away or gets bigger after your next menstrual period
  • The breast lump changes — gets bigger, firmer or more defined from surrounding breast tissue
  • You have bloody, possibly spontaneous, discharge from your nipple
  • You notice skin changes on your breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering
  • Your nipple is turned inward (inverted), although it isn’t normally positioned that way