Benign Breast Conditions

Breast Conditions That Aren’t Cancerous

Woman holding her chest
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Your breasts will have normal, healthy changes during your lifetime. But how are you to know if it is harmless or malignant? Fortunately, most people have benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions at some point in their life. Women will experience menstrual-related breast changes as they cycle through each month -– swelling, tenderness, some nipple discharge, and perhaps transient pain. Doing your monthly breast self-exam will help you get familiar with the normal texture of your breasts, and alert you when something changes.

Here are several conditions that are not breast cancer, but might be felt or seen during a regular breast exam:

Breast Pain

  • Mastalgia (cyclical and non-cyclical breast pain)

Benign Breast Lumps

Change in Breast Texture

Breast Infections and Inflammations

  • Mastitis (benign breast infection -- may occur as a result of breastfeeding)
  • Chronic Subareolar Abscesses (infection near the nipple)

Hard Breast Tissue, Trauma, or Silicone

Nipple Changes

If you have trouble identifying a particular lump or other breast condition, always get your doctor or nurse to do a clinical breast exam, just to be sure. If you have any doubt as to the nature of the condition, a mammogram or ultrasound can help make a clearer diagnosis. And if doubt still remains, a needle biopsy can be done, or nipple discharge can be sampled, and tests will reveal the actual problem.

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