What To Do If You Feel a Breast Mass

Drs. Pearlman and Griffin in the September 2010 journal Obstetrics & Gynecology reviewed the topic of non-cancerous breast disease and present a concise picture for physicians on what to recommend for their patients who complain of a new breast mass. In an update of this topic the Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Mayo Clinic with researchers from Melbourne, Australia have looked at the rates of breast cancers in women 25 and under an published their article in September 2011.We know that 80% of breast cancers are in women 50 years or older based on American Cancer Society information. Thus a young woman with a mass can find comfort in those facts alone. Of course no one set of generalizations apply to every woman, and experts even have some variation on what they recommend. What remains firm is that a clinical examination, which is by a health care provider, is the first step to evaluation and diagnosis. Any new lump, especially one that has persisted for over a month, needs an evaluation. So first this is go and see your gyno for a check up! You need to give the details of the nature of the mass and when you found it and get an examination. If the exam by your gyno shows no mass, they suggest getting a repeat clinical exam in 2-3 months. We find that adolescents are most likely to have a lump called a fibroadenoma, this is the most common non cancerous reason you would feel a new mass in your breast.  If there is a benign mass, meaning not really one that feels like a cancer then you do need a study: mammogram in women over 30 ultrasound if you are under 30, and for those that the exam is suspicious both mammogram and ultrasound should be done and do an image-guided (core type usually) biopsy. Fairly simple. So, if you feel a lump: go to your gyno. If your gyno feels the lump, expect further testing, or discuss why those tests are not indicated in your case. Breast discharge testing is separate.

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