Breast Lumps In Women - Diagnosis

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

Please describe the diagnosis of the breast lumps in your breast(s).

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

How are breast lumps evaluated?

Physical Examination

A manual examination of the breast is an important screening method for detecting cancer and is the first step in the evaluation of a breast lump. Unfortunately, the manual examination of the breast is not perfect. However, if a mass can be felt manually, it is important to estimate the location of the mass so that the mammogram and/or other diagnostic examinations can focus on the particular area. A doctor also inspects any suspicious skin changes that may be a sign of breast cancer. Since the manual examination can miss breast cancer, mammography is also important as a screening tool.

Mammogram

Women with a breast lump need to have a mammogram of both breasts. A mammogram is estimated to be able to detect about 90% of breast cancers. This means that about 10% of breast cancers are missed by mammography. Therefore, if a woman or her physician feels a lump and the mammogram is normal, further studies or biopsies are carried out to rule out cancer. Sometimes, a certain pattern of calcium deposits appears on the mammogram that makes the doctor suspicious of cancer. In these cases, it is often recommended that a biopsy be taken that is guided by mammogram images to be sure the correct area is sampled.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is useful in the evaluation of breast lumps. It can distinguish between a cyst (such as a benign cyst, which is filled with fluid) and a solid lump (which may or may not be cancerous). The first step in the evaluation of a breast lump is to determine whether it is a cyst or solid mass, and this is what an ultrasound can do best. Especially in young women, in whom a benign cyst may be suspected, if the woman's ultrasound confirms a typical cyst, she may not require any procedures or biopsies. If it is unclear on the ultrasound whether the lump is completely a cyst, a further evaluation is usually recommended.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming more widely used in the evaluation of breast lumps because it is particularly sensitive to small abnormalities in breast tissue. MRI is a special radiology technique designed to image internal structures of the body using magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce the images of body structures. Cancers require a greater blood supply than non-cancerous growths, and the images obtained from an MRI may help determine whether a particular area is cancerous because the MRI shows greater contrast in those areas with an increased blood supply. In most cases, MRI is performed if results of mammography and ultrasound evaluations are not conclusive.

MRI also has limitations. For example, MRI cannot detect the presence of calcium deposits, which can be identified by mammography and may be a sign of cancer.

Return to Breast Lumps (In Women)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Debra, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 19

I did self-examination this morning. I felt a mass in the lower bottom of my breast. I've had a benign cyst removed before when I was much younger.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: halesmom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I am a 53-year-old, recently menopausal woman, who was diagnosed with cellulitis of the right breast four weeks ago. I took antibiotics for 20 days and all signs of infection had disappeared six or seven days before I finished the medicine. I was left with a hard lump, which does not move and does not hurt. Both ultrasounds I have had do not suggest cancer, neither does the diagnostic mammogram. The mammo report says further testing is required; however, my doctor, a breast surgeon, has decided to wait another month because she says hard tissue can remain after an infection, and she thinks that is what this is. Basically, that means if the lump is still there in another month, I will finally get a biopsy and should it show something, I will have wasted nine weeks of treatment time because my lump isn't usual. To doctors who may read this: Don't torture your patients. If a lump is present without infection, or as in my case, if there is no reason for the infection, do a biopsy right away for the peace of mind it can bring. The Internet is full of stories of women who were assured from a mammogram and an ultrasound that they were fine.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!