Finding a lump in your breast is a psychologically traumatizing experience for anyone, regardless of your age or current health status. On one end of the spectrum, many women will immediately jump to the conclusion that they have breast cancer. Others tend to brush off and ignore finding a lump in the hopes that it will go away on its own, or they attempt to console themselves with the thought that they are simply imagining things. If you find a lump or feel anything unusual in your breast, take control and make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. Your doctor will recommend a physical examination along with a series of tests which will very likely include a mammogram and ultrasound and sometimes even a biopsy.
Common Myths Regarding Cancer & Breast Lumps
Myth 1: If you feel a lump in your breast its cancer: It may come as a surprise to learn that as many as 80% of the lumps that women find, can be attributed to either a cyst or fibroadenoma (abnormal benign growth). It is not uncommon for lumps to come and go during and after a women’s menstrual cycle. It is important to be self-aware by administering a monthly self-check breast exam. This way you can detect any changes and make an appointment to have any findings evaluated by a medical professional. Early detection is the key to a successful treatment program regardless of the diagnosis.
Myth 2: If you find a lump but your mammogram appears normal, you don’t need any other tests or follow up: Even if your mammogram appears normal, you should follow the advice of your doctor and complete any tests that he or she schedules including ultrasound, MRI or follow-up mammograms to reevaluate the lump.
Myth 3: Cancerous lumps found in the breast don’t hurt: If you are experiencing breast pain, you should never assume that it is nothing to worry about. Inflammatory breast cancer for example can manifest itself with symptoms including redness, swelling, breast tenderness and heat all which can intensify when you begin to feel a lump.
Myth 4: Lumpy breasts during breastfeeding are normal and never cancerous: Finding a lump during breastfeeding is normal to an extent, but it doesn’t necessary rule out cancer. If you notice a lump while you are breastfeeding, don’t ignore it, make an appointment with you doctor who may schedule an ultrasound to determine the cause make an accurate diagnosis.
Myth 5: If you are young, you can’t get breast cancer: You can receive a diagnosis of breast cancer at any age. While it is true that most women diagnosed with breast cancer are past menopause (generally 50 years old or older), any lump regardless of age could be cancer, and should be examined by your doctor.
Myth 6: A large lump is more likely to be cancer than a small lump: Breast lumps can manifest themselves in all manner of sizes. If you find a breast lump that is new, even if it is small in size, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Even a tiny lump can be cancer.
Myth 7: If you find a lump and there is no history of breast cancer in your family, you have nothing to worry about: It is a common misconception for many women to belief that they are not at risk for breast cancer if no one in their family has ever suffered from the disease. Statistically speaking, less than 15% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a relative who has also had the disease. You should get any lump that you find checked out by your doctor immediately, regardless of whether or not breast cancer is part of your family history.