Lumps in a woman are often caused by fibrocystic changes, fibroadenomas, and cysts.
Fibrocystic changes are painful, lumpy breasts. Fibrocystic breast changes do not increase your risk of breast cancer. Symptoms are usually worse right before your menstrual period, and then improve after your period starts.
Fibroadenomas are noncancerous lumps that feel rubbery. They move easily inside the breast tissue. Like fibrocystic changes, they occur most often during the reproductive years. Usually, they are not tender. Except in rare cases, they do not become cancerous later. A doctor can feel during an exam whether a lump is a fibroadenoma. The only way to be sure, however, is to remove or biopsy the lump.
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that often feel like soft grapes. These can sometimes be tender, often just before your menstrual period.
Other causes of breast lumps include:
- Breast cancer
- Injury. Blood may collect and feel like a lump if your breast gets badly bruised. These lumps tend to get better on their own in a few days or weeks. If they do not improve, your doctor may have to drain the blood.
- Lipoma. This is a collection of fatty tissue.
- Milk cysts (sacs filled with milk) and infections (mastitis), which may turn into an abscess. These typically occur if you are breastfeeding or have recently given birth.