I just found a lump in my breast, what do I do now?

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DavidEzell (Professional Therapist (Verified) ) - 02 / 23 / 2011

Keep in mind that "a lump" is not how breast cancer is diagnosed. A lump is a sign that something has changed in your body and attention needs to be paid. 

That said, the change could be minor--an ingrown hair follicle or a benign growth--or major--cancer.  However, the lump is not the way professionals diagnose cancer. If it were, we'd see posters saying, "have a lump? Oh! You have cancer." instead we have public service announcements urging you to "get it checked," and that is what you should do. 

So be curious and cautious, but don't assume. Knowledge is power--good luck. 

DrAttai (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 08 / 02 / 2011

All are great answers and good advice. I would stress that just because a lump might feel soft and movable, don't assume that it is not something more suspicious. Always get a new finding evaluated by your physician. If you are not comfortable with the response, get another opinion, preferably from a specialist. Young women especially should never be dismissed or told that "you're too young" for breast cancer. I also agree fully with LaurieA - bring a friend or family member to your appointment!
Shared Experiences

margok (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 01 / 25 / 2011

1 vote(s) by murray
Make an appointment with your gynecologist, who will give you a breast exam. Hopefully, you'll find it is nothing. Otherwise, based on your symptoms, you might be asked to see a radiologist for a mammogram and/or sonogram. If there is still suspicion, but no certainty, you may also be asked to have an MRI.

It is important to act quickly. Don't put your head in the sand. If it is breast cancer, you want it to be detected as soon as possible. Early detection means more choices and more control. And, it gives you the best chance for survival.

murray (Current Patient) - 11 / 08 / 2010

First, remember to stay calm. Then, you should immediately consult your physician. Lumps in breasts are very common and 8 out of 10 lumps found in women's breasts are not cancerous. Hormones may cause breast tissue to fill with water, creating lumps. Many times lumps go away naturally. But you can never be too careful in making sure.

The next step is for the physician will determine if the lump is normal or abnormal.

Tanya (Family member) - 01 / 26 / 2011

Besides immediately visiting the doctor, I would also suggest performing breast exams on yourself every week as breast tissue changes all throughout the month. As Murray stated lumps come and go throughout the menstrual cycle and each person is different.

I have had several friends find lumps because they were examing themselves irregulary and did not understand the way their breast tissue changes. However, do not read this statement as a reason to ignore what you found and skip a doctor's visit. Your health is important and any changes in your body and how you feel should not be ignored. Early detection helps save lives.

This can be a very stressful time so alert someone you now and trust that can be a support for you such as a friend, relative, etc. Let them now how you feel. You can also search this site for others who have experienced what you are going through and chat with them.

nancys513 (Current Patient) - 03 / 12 / 2011

I agree with everyone else that answered this question. I think that the most important thing to do is to see a specialist. Most cancers are found my the patient or a partner and although most lumps are benign the only ways to know for sure is to have it checked out. Some good advice I heard is that you should stagger your doctors visits, what I mean is to see a breast doctor or the person that gives you your mamo RX and six months later see your gynecologist for your annual visit. That way you have a good clinical breast exam every six months. If you check out your own breast monthly also feel in and around your arm pit area!

raysingboyz (Current Patient) - 03 / 25 / 2011

I agree. See your doctor ASAP. No need to panic, but make sure you are taken seriously and they follow through. Depending upon your age and medical history also, you may need more than just a mammogram for a final result. Keep on it!! I am hopeful for you it is nothing, but don't wait to get it checked out. Getting checked out will settle any fears also.

LaurieA (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 04 / 25 / 2011

I agree with all of the above, and I'd like to add another aspect. Bring a supportive friend, spouse or family member with you when you are going through testing. It doesn't have to be at every stage, but if you are going for test results, often you receive so much information that you can feel overwhelmed. You are never alone, there is an expansive network of people that have gone through the doubts, fears and decisions, and we are here for you. The period of waiting and not knowing is the worst part. Komen.org has a very helpful section on "Understanding Breast Cancer." The area on "Questions to Ask Your Doctor" will guide you through every step of the way. Wishing you all the best!

Elynjacobs (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 05 / 13 / 2011

I agree with all too, but I want to stress something that raysingboyz mentioned. She is right, "keep on it". My mother battled BC for thirteen years, I was diagnosed in 07 and my mother died shortly thereafter. That December, my sister went for her routine mamo. It came up suspicious but her doctor and all those involved told her that she was low-risk, so not to worry, let's wait and see. I insisted she get more tests, and still, much time was wasted because they didn't feel time was of the essence. Let's see...mom has BC, sister has BC, but she is low-risk? It was breast cancer, finally diagnosed in March of 08. Be persistant. It matters.

BC4 (Current Patient) - 06 / 05 / 2011

If a lump is hard and somewhat stable, rather than a soft lump that moves around, that's a sign that one is in danger and should get a mammogram immediately. My lump was found by accident, and was hard, small, and stayed in the same place. While I wanted to run away from the possibility that it was cancer, and those around me assured me it was probably benign, a mammogram ruled that it was cancer.

journeyofamom (Survivor (5 - 10 years)) - 08 / 05 / 2011

Because I had so many fibroids, I was told to wait until after cycle was complete and if it was still there then have it checked. When I was diagnosed, I waited and when it didn't go away, I saw my doctor. My lump was the size of a golf ball protruding out my skin, but yet the doctor told me it was unlikely to be cancer because I was 35, nofamily history and the area was painful. He did do a needle biopsy to put my mind at ease. Unfortunately, he missed the tumor and therefore told me it was benign. Luckily, I decided to have it removed anyways because of the size and discomfort. That was when they realized there was a problem and a few days later I got the call while driving that I had cancer.

Be proactive but don't overreact. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion. Always write things down because I guarantee you will either forget or confuse things out of stress and nervoussness. Take someone with you if you are worried, it never hurts to have another person there for support and to help you digest all the information. And if you are overwhelmed, talk to someone who can point you to resources that would be best for you. trust your intuition and be aware if something isn't right. I pushed more than once knowing something was wrong and even when I was told I was over worried, I trusted myself and that made the difference.
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