Most women experience breast changes at some time. Your age, hormone levels and medicines you take may cause lumps, bumps and discharges. Common symptoms of potential breast disease that need further evaluation include a breast lump, pain, discharge or skin irritation. It is important to remember that minor and serious breast problems have similar symptoms. Although many women fear cancer, most breast problems are not cancer.
Some common causes of breast changes are
* Fibrocystic breast condition - lumpiness, thickening and swelling, often associated with a woman's period
* Cysts - fluid-filled lumps
* Fibroadenomas - solid, round, rubbery lumps that move easily when pushed, occurring most in younger women
* Intraductal papillomas - growths similar to warts near the nipple
* Blocked or clogged milk ducts
* Milk production when a woman is not breastfeeding
One out of eight women are at risk of developing breast cancer over their lifetime. Monthly breast self exam is one part of total breast care that includes annual physical exams and mammograms after age 40. Between 33 and 50 percent of all women experience benign breast disease or another benign breast disease. If you discover a lump in one breast, check the other breast. If both breasts feel the same, the lumpiness is probably normal. You should, however, mention it to your doctor at your next visit.
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