How to Tell a Fibrocystic Lump From Breast Cancer


Finding a lump anywhere on your body can be a traumatic experience, and the first line of thought that goes through nearly everyone's mind is whether the lump is cancerous. When it comes to detecting breast cancer, the presence of fibrocystic lumps is one benign condition that tends to be mistaken for malignant tumors. A fibrocystic lump is one that is round in shape, smooth and apparently unattached to any tissue within the breast itself. Trying to differentiate between the two can help you to relax somewhat before receiving the official word from your doctor.

Breast Lump Diagnosis

Determine first whether the lump is an isolated incident or whether it has appeared in conjunction with other known symptoms of breast cancer. According to information from Medline Plus, beyond a lump, the generally occurring symptoms of breast cancer include alterations in the size or shape of the breast itself or a pus-like discharge from the nipple. If you have a lump without also witnessing either of these two symptoms as well, you can breathe somewhat easier.

Consider whether the lump is occurring with other symptoms of fibrocystic breasts. According to information from, a health site for women, the other common symptoms of fibrocystic breasts include pain and tenderness within the breast. If you are experiencing pain in conjunction with your lump (and also have no other signs of breast cancer), it is highly likely that your condition is not cancerous, as pain is almost never a primary symptom of breast cancer.

Examine the condition and salient characteristics of the lump to determine further whether it is fibrocystic in nature. The vast majority of fibrocystic lumps are found in the upper quadrant of the breast (closest to the armpit).

Have your physician perform a biopsy for the final determination. A biopsy is the only real way to determine whether the lump is fibrocystic or cancerous, so do not delay in having this procedure performed. During a biopsy, a small section of the questionable tissue will be excised and examined to determine whether it is malignant or benign. This is the final step to rule out breast cancer as a possible diagnosis.

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