Breast tissue covers not only the breast but also sits on the chest muscles over the ribs and extends from under the arm to the collarbone. Breasts are made of glands that produce milk, ducts, fatty tissue, the areolas and nipples and lymph glands. Women experience changes in the way breast tissue feels depending on age, menopause, menstrual cycles and pregnancy.
Breast masses are either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Some common types of benign conditions include:
Fibrocystic disease: A condition causing pain, cysts and benign breast lumps. Women age 25 to 50 are most commonly affected.
The following link has information about fibrocystic breast disease. http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_condition_info_details.asp?disease_id=245&channel_id=16&relation_id=2258
Fibroadenoma: rubbery, smooth, mobile, painless mass mainly in women under 35 years old. It is the most common type of lump found in teenagers and women in their early 20s
Abscesses and mastitis: infections in breast tissue. The following link has more information about abscesses and mastitis: http://chealth.canoe.ca/condition_info_details.asp?disease_id=326
Even though most breast lumps and conditions are not cancer, it is important to see your health care provider to be sure. There are treatment and preventative measures for benign breast conditions. If your breast lump is cancerous, treatment can be arranged to quickly start the fight against it. In the meantime, don’t forget to look for ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society has a quick Breast Health Quiz that tests our knowledge about breast cancer risk and gives suggestions about screening and simple lifestyle changes that are known to decrease risk. http://www.cancer.ca/files/ontario/bcam/english/bcam_quiz_q1.html
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