The majority, approximately 85% of breast lumps are found to be benign (i.e. non-cancerous).
There are many causes and types of benign breast lump. These include:
Fibrocystic breast disease (Fibroadenosis) is a benign growth abnormality of the breast, causing lumpiness and tenderness. Fibrocystic breast disease is very common in pre-menopausal women.
A fibroadenoma is a small growth in the breast. They are most common between the ages of 15 and 30. These lumps are benign and are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
A cyst is a fluid filled lump. Breast cysts are most common in pre-menopausal women (40-55) and those who take hormone replacement therapy at any age.
Fat necrosis is a hard irregular lump, most often caused by trauma. They disappear spontaneously.
A lipoma is a fatty growth that can cause a lump that can change the shape of the breast. It requires no treatment.
Fibrocystic breast disease (fibroadenosis) is a term given to a group of benign conditions affecting the breast. One or both breasts become tender or painful and lumpy, and the symptoms occurring before and during menstruation (a period). After a period the breasts often return to normal.
A fibroadenoma is a smooth, well rounded and defined, solid lump made up of fibrous and glandular tissue, which moves easily (also known as a ‘breast mouse’) Sometimes a fibroadenoma will regress and can disappear but often they persist and may get larger, especially during pregnancy.
A breast cyst is a firm fluid filled sac within the tissues of the breast. Cysts vary in size, from tiny cysts to those, which are several centimetres in size. Single or multiple cysts can occur in one or both breasts. Cysts may cause no problems, but sometimes they can be tender to touch.
If the woman is experiencing breast pain due to fibroadenosis medicines may be prescribed. These include Efamast, which contains gamolenic acid, extracted from the Evening Primrose plant and Danazol or Bromocriptine, which alters the hormone balance. Danazol or Bromocriptine are not prescribed if the woman plans to become pregnant or is on the contraceptive pill.
Cysts are treated by drawing off the fluid with a small needle and syringe (aspiration). After the cyst has been drained, the lump will disappear. The fluid will be sent to the laboratory for examination under the microscope. Although most cysts are benign, they are occasionally linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Approximately 30% of cysts refill with fluid and need to be drained again.
Fibroadenoma: A biopsy is usually performed. Once it is confirmed it is a fibroadenoma, it does not have to be removed unless it is large or painful or the woman wishes it. The surgery is usually done as a day case.
source NHSDirect 151204