Breast Lumps: What’s Next? – Dr. Nadia Eliza FEATURE ARTICLE

Discovering that you have an unexpected breast lump can be quite frightening. There are different reasons why breast lumps develop, and most are not cancerous.

These reasons include infection, trauma, pregnancy, puberty, breastfeeding, hormone therapy, and several breast related disease such as fibroadenoma, cyst, fat necrosis, or fibrocystic breasts.

A person who detects a breast lump should have it evaluated as soon as possible.

How to determine if the breast lump is cancerous?

The typical rule of thumb in differentiating a benign breast from cancerous breast lump is the movement. If the lump rolls between the fingers, moves in all direction it is less likely to be cancer compared to a lump that feels hard and rooted to the breast. However, not all benign lumps move and not all cancerous lumps don’t. The best way to be sure is to confirm with your doctor and do specialised medical test.

What are the test that I need to do for breast lump?

First things first, your doctor will examine the breast lump to feel for borders, surfaces and consistency before proceeding for breast ultrasound. The breast ultrasound is helpful for looking at some breast changes and also to tell difference between fluid-filled cyst and solid masses (A solid mass lump is cancerous). At the same time, your doctor may need to take tissue sample using biopsy needle guided by the ultrasound.

Women whose above 45 years old should start making appointment for mammogram annually for breast cancer screening. However, for women who has family history of breast cancer, they are advised to go for mammogram at the age of 40 for early prevention. Mammogram is the best breast cancer screening tests so far. It detect changes of your breast tissues in detail at suspicious areas that could be signs of cancer. However, even if abnormal findings is detected in mammogram, other investigations needs to be done for 100% confirmation.

It is imperative to understand that when a breast lump is discovered, a check-up with a doctor is the first step to do. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Malaysia in 2011 and the fifth most common cause of death from cancer in women. Survival rates for breast cancer vary worldwide, but improved generally at rates. This is because breast cancer is diagnosed at an earlier and localised stage as our medical care have improved in terms of access and treatment strategies. Get your breast cancer screening right away at the nearest hospital!

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