I Found a Lump.. What Do I Do?

If You Find a Lump

If you feel a lump in your breast, try not to panic or worry.

Most lumps are not breast cancer, but something less serious, such as a benign breast condition.

Some lumps will go away on their own. In younger women, lumps are often related to menstrual periods and will go away by the end of the cycle.

However, if you find a lump (or any change in your breast or underarm area), it’s best to see your health care provider to be sure it’s not breast cancer.

Learn more about benign breast conditions.

Breast lumps or lumpiness

Many women’s breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture.

Some women have lumpier breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then it’s probably normal breast tissue.

Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) or that feel like a change are a concern and should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition (such as a cyst or fibroadenoma).

See a health care provider if you:

  • Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Find a new lump (or any change) that feels different from your other breast
  • Feel something that’s different from what you felt before

If you’re unsure whether you should have a lump (or any change) checked it’s best to see a provider.

Learn more about benign breast conditions.

Nipple discharge

Liquid leaking from your nipple (nipple discharge) can be troubling, but it’s rarely a sign of breast cancer.

Discharge can be your body’s natural reaction when the nipple is squeezed.

Signs of a more serious condition (such as breast cancer) include discharge that:

  • Occurs without squeezing the nipple
  • Occurs in only one breast
  • Is bloody or clear (not milky)

Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or other condition that needs treatment.

If you have any nipple discharge, see a health care provider.

Other changes in the breasts

You may see or feel other changes in your breasts.

See a health care provider if you notice any of these warning signs of breast cancer (see pictures) [12,50-51]:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Pain in your breasts may be related to your menstrual period.

However, if the pain doesn’t go away, don’t ignore it. Although pain is rarely a sign of breast cancer, it’s best to see a provider to be sure.

Learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer.

Learn more about benign breast conditions.

Learn more about breast cancer diagnosis.

What to do if you don’t have a health care provider

If you don’t have a health care provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a trusted family member or friend.

If that’s not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital.

Learn more about finding a health care provider.