You feel a lump in your breast that you’re sure wasn’t there before, and your mind immediately jumps to breast cancer. For women, this reaction is justified if you consider that they have a 13% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
The fact is that breast lumps are common in women, and men can develop them, too. But they’re not always cancerous.
In this month’s blog post, the team of surgeons at Rockwall Surgical Specialists explores benign breast disease — the different types and your treatment options.
About half of women experience fibrocystic changes in their breasts, which typically present as lumps that can be painful and tender. These changes are hormone-related and often come and go with your menstrual cycles.
With fibrocystic changes, your breast tissue can thicken. You may also develop fluid-filled lumps in your breasts called cysts.
While fibrocystic changes may be uncomfortable, they don’t increase your risk for breast cancer and they often dissipate after you pass through menopause. If the breast changes are causing you a good deal of discomfort, hormone therapies may be able to help.
Men, too, can develop enlarged breast tissue due to hormones, namely an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. Called gynecomastia, this condition is very common among newborn boys, in adolescent boys transitioning through puberty, and in older men. In fact, between 50% and 65% of males worldwide experience gynecomastia.
If the enlarged breast tissue doesn’t go away on its own and it makes you self-conscious, a surgeon can remove the excess tissue to give your chest a more male-like appearance.
The most common type of benign breast lumps are called fibroadenomas. These small lumps — up to 2 to 3 centimeters — can come and go over time and change in size and number. Fibroadenomas aren’t associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, but they do bear monitoring to ensure that they don’t grow.
If fibroadenomas do grow and become painful (which isn’t common), surgical removal might be the best course of action.
With this condition, you develop small growths inside your mammary duct, usually near your nipple. The condition typically affects women between the ages of 30 and 50 and, if five or more growths develop, you may be more at risk for developing breast cancer. In these cases, we recommend surgical removal of the growths.
While there are other conditions that can affect your breasts, the above are the most common. Despite the fact that these breast issues are benign, it’s always a good idea to check with your provider any time you notice changes in your breasts.
In cases where surgical intervention is the best course of action, our team can help. To remove growths or tissue from your breasts, we use advanced laparoscopic surgery to minimize your incisions and reduce the risks associated with open surgery.
If you have questions, please contact us at one of our locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, Terrell, and Forney, Texas, to set up a consultation.