What to do when you find a breast lump

I have had a lump on my right breast for over a year now. I haven’t had the chance to have it checked. I would like to know how this lump will affect me, and whether I should have it checked.


What to do when you find a breast lump

If the lump that you have found is exactly the same size as when you found it, it is unlikely to be cancerous, since cancers almost always increase in size. However, I would strongly urge you to see your medical caregiver anyway. Any new breast lump should be evaluated by a trained individual. After she feels the lump, she will recommend one of several courses of action. If it feels like a cyst, which is a fluid filled sac, she could insert a small needle into it and withdraw the fluid. If the cyst resolves totally after aspiration (withdrawing the fluid) and does not reaccumulate, you are fine. If this is not the case, she may request a mammogram or ultrasound to help further evaluate this lump.

If a solid mass persists, we will often set up a consultation with a general surgeon. In most areas of the country, gynecologists are trained to feel breast lumps and drain cysts, but when it comes to actually removing a mass from the breast, it becomes the province of the general surgeons. If you do see a surgeon, she may recommend either placing a needle into the lump (fine needle aspiration) or totally removing it, under some form of anesthesia.

What to do when you find a breast lump

If a premenopausal patient calls me up with a new breast lump, particularly if it is tender, I will suppose that it is most likely caused by fibrocystic breast changes. I recommend a “cocktail” of vitamins that I have found very helpful for resolving breast cysts. First, I encourage her to decrease her caffeine intake as much as possible. Then I encourage her to take 400-600 units of vitamin E, 100-200 mg of vitamin B6, and 2 capsules of evening primrose oil every day. If the mass is caused by fibrocystic changes, I would expect it to resolve in 1 to 2 menstrual cycles. If it persists, it should be evaluated.

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