Question: I have a lump in my breast and I'm afraid it's cancer. Should I be worried?
Answer: Eight out of 10 lumps that women may feel in their breasts are benign (not cancerous). A benign lump can be a collection of normal or hyperactive breast gland cells, or it may be a water-filled sac (cyst).
In any event, if you feel a lump and you're worried about it, DON'T HESITATE TO SEE A DOCTOR. By getting a doctor to check the lump you'll ease your fears. And if it's something serious, you can start getting treatment right away.
One way to make lumps less frightening is to get to know what your breasts normally feel like. There's no better way to find out than by doing your monthly breast self-exam. The upper, outer area—near your armpit—tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.
If you notice any changes in your breasts that last over a full month's cycle or that seem to get worse or more obvious over time, tell your doctor. Knowing how your breasts usually look and feel may also help you avoid needless biopsies.
If you're worried about getting breast cancer, read about breast cancer risk factors to find out what your risk is.