Benign breast lumps

Specialty of Obstetrics & gynaecology

What is a benign breast lump?

A benign breast tumour is caused by excessive growth of benign breast cells and tissues. The growth is not cancerous, and the most common growths are called fibroadenomas.

Symptoms of benign breast tumours

The main symptom is the appearance of a hard breast cyst, which is painless when touched and which, not being attached to the skin, moves around.

What are the causes of benign breast tumours?

Currently, the cause is not known, although it is believed that it may be due to a hormonal imbalance. It primarily affects women during puberty and pregnancy. However, it also occurs, at a lower frequency, in postmenopausal women.

Can it be prevented?

There are some everyday measures that may help to prevent the development of benign breast tumours. These are:

  • Periodic breast self-examination and observation.
  • A healthy diet.
  • Reducing intake of fats and carbohydrates, as these raise the level of oestrogens, which stimulate breast tissue.
  • Avoiding caffeine and chocolate, which contain methylxanthines, substances that can overstimulate the growth of breast tissue.
  • Not wearing bras so tightly that blood circulation is hindered.

What is the treatment?

The diagnosis is made using ultrasound and further refined with a needle biopsy. Given that they are related to hormonal changes in women, they do not always have to be removed as they usually disappear by themselves within a couple of years.

Surgery is performed when the tumour is growing rapidly, is causing discomfort or for aesthetic reasons.

However, medical tests are necessary if a tumour is suspected.

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