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What are Benign Breast Lumps?

During a breast self-exam it is possible to discover a lump. Although it requires immediate medical evaluation, you do not have to be terrified as breast lumps are not necessarily malignant. In fact, 80% of all breast lumps are benign and are a quite common condition.

Benign breast lumps are usually present in both breasts. In general, these lumps are smooth and mobile when pressed on. Also, they are squishy and may change in size. Benign breast lumps may develop due to several causes such as normal breast changes, infection in the breasts or injury to the breasts. Sometimes, these lumps may result out of use of certain medications. Normally, the breast tissue goes through cyclic changes during a woman's life. These changes are most obvious during the menstrual cycle when female hormones are fluctuating.

Types of Benign Breast ChangesFibrocystic Breast Changes

Benign breast lumps are most commonly caused by fibrocystic changes. Fibrocystic changes are actually normal changes in the breast tissue that occur due to menstrual cycle. This condition is very common and it typically manifests as breast tenderness that precedes a menstruation. Fibrocystic lumps are typically found in both breasts and change in size just before a period. Fibrocystic breast changes can be also accompanied with nipple discharge.

Fibrocystic lumps are cysts made up of grown cells of the milk ducts and nearby fatty tissue. Hormones released before monthly period cause these cysts to enlarge. The cysts may be hard or rubbery and appear a single lump. Fibrocystic breast changes can result in thickening of the breast tissue.

Fibrocystic breast changes are usually seen in women aged 35 to 50. Women after menopause usually do not suffer from this type of benign breast changes.

Simple CystsThese cysts are fluid-filled sacs of tissue and commonly exist in both breasts. A woman can have single or numerous simple cysts. They alter in size and become tender prior to the menstruation.


Fibroadenomas are common non cancerous breast tumors. They are solid, round and rubbery lumps that commonly do not cause pain. Also, fibroadenomas can be easily moved around. Fibroadenomas are formed from fibrous and glandular tissues. Fibroadnomas are common in women aged between 20 and 30.

Intraductal Papillomas

An intraductal papilloma is a tiny, wart-like benign growth found in the milk ducts in the nipple area. This type of lump can cause bleeding from the nipple.

Traumatic Fat Necrosis

Traumatic fat necrosis refers to firm lumps formed from fatty tissue in case of trauma to the breast. The lumps are commonly single, round, hard and do not cause pain.

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