Is Every Lump in Breast Cancerous?

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Difference between a cyst and tumor in breast

Nearly 6 yrs ago before having kids, suddenly one day late evening I felt a lump in my right breast. I got panic thinking it was a cancer tumor as it was hard, moving and not paining.
I quickly read some information on internet overnight and went to doctor next day. I was told to take a mammogram and biopsy test. In few days reports came and It came out to be normal breast cysts which could be caused by hormonal changes etc.

(Please note this post is written to share my personal experience and material below is from study of articles on internet. It is for breast cancer awareness.)

Many women cannot identify breast cancer tumor in early stage and many misunderstand normal cyst as tumor, like I did.
But in case of any irregular changes in breast a woman must go to the doctor. Also once you are 40 yrs old, you must take a mammogram every year even though no changes in breasts.

Here is some easy to understand explanation of breast cyst and cancer tumor

Cyst in Breasts

A cyst is a sac of fluid/air/material. A cyst can be formed in any part of body including bones and soft tissue.
This breast lump feels squishy and smooth. On pressing a cyst it may feel like a water balloon. A cyst can move around and also it can change shape during your monthly periods.

Symptoms of Breast Cyst

• Soft and feels like water filled balloon. (Sometimes it may feel firm)
• It may be tiny or even few centimeters in size.
• Usually round
• Most of times painless (but when it is pressed the other parts around get pushed and the source of pain cannot be determined. Also it my grow during Menstrual Cycle and may cause some pain)

Location of Cyst

Breast cysts could be located deeper inside or near surface or even close to chest wall. In case of cyst near surface it is easy to conduct tests on it. In deeper cysts it becomes difficult because if you press on it you cannot distinguish the hardness of layers with the lump’s density

At What Age Cyst can Appear?

A cyst can appear at any age. Many times cysts disappear but cancer can also form cysts so tests must be done consulting your doctor.

Is a cyst harmful?

It depends on what causes it. As mentioned above breast cancer or hormonal changes can also for a cyst.

Tests Done to Check Cyst: mammogram, biopsy (In biopsy tissues/liquid from cyst is extracted with a needle on syringe. This tissues/liquid is examined under microscope.

In case it is found not harmful, then doctor may recommend you a test in future to keep watch on changes in cyst.

What is a Breast Cancer Tumor?

Tumor is abnormal form of mass of tissues. Like a cyst, a tumor can form in any part of the body. A tumor can be cancerous.

Symptoms of Breast Tumor

• Thickening in the breasts or area near it like underarms.
• The lump feels firm and is usually of irregular shape.
• It feels stuck.
• The size and shape of breasts may change.
• Discharge (most of times liquid like blood)
• Possible changes in skin: red, swollen, scaly, puckering and dimpling (any of these symptoms)
• Inverted nipples

Tests Done on Tumor

Mammogram and biopsy
In case of biopsy of a tumor, sample of the tissues are tested just like explained above in cyst test. But sometimes part or even whole tumor is removed for test.

In early stages one can hardly notice a breast tumor, as it grows the breast changes and patient may start noticing it.
Every woman must keep manually testing her breasts regularly. The easiest timing is bath time as during shower, your soapy hand doesn’t irritate testing breasts. You can look at bathroom mirror. Move your arms around to see your breasts from every angle.
References:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186087.php
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-answers/tumor/faq-20057829
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Breast-lump/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://breastcancer.about.com/od/risk/a/lump_overview.htm

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Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

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