Before we get to know the causes of breast lump in young females, let us first understand what are breast lumps? A breast lump is the sensation of feeling of a bump or swelling inside the breast tissue. Women of any age group can develop breast lumps due to various reasons. In this article let us explore causes of breast lump in young females, investigations or tests used for diagnosis and the treatments available.
Causes of breast lump in young females:
Majority of causes or breast lumps in women are non-cancerous and relatively harmless. But, there are few instances when the breast lumps can be cancerous as well. So, women need to be aware of various symptoms of breast lumps so that they can consult a physician if they find something suspicious about breast lumps.
Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs inside the breast tissue. They are generally non-cancerous and harmless. They are mostly seen in young women under the age of 50 years. They are generally painless.
But they can become painful if they become large and exert pressure on surrounding tissues or if they become infected. Mostly, they don’t need any treatment unless they become painful or they become infected.
Fibroadenoma is the excess growth of glandular cells in the breast. They are one of the most common causes of breast lumps in young females under the age of 30 years. It is also known with the name of a breast mouse.
It is firm in consistency, round in shape and easily mobile when you try to move the lump. It is a benign and harmless condition. It can be identified by doing an ultrasound scan of the breast. They don’t need treatment if they don’t cause any pain or discomfort.
An abscess is the collection of pus which is caused by bacterial infections. If the abscess develops within the breast due to bacterial infection, it is called breast abscess. When you have breast abscess, you will find the affected area to be red, hot, swollen, painful and sometimes oozing out pus.
This condition needs to be treated promptly with antibiotic medicines that are used to kill the causative bacteria or bugs. Otherwise, the infection can spread to the whole breast and cause severe pain and fever.
If you suffered and trauma of breast, due to an accident or anyone hitting you, the fat in the breast can become necrosed or dead and can lead to fat necrosis. This also results in the formation of a breast lump. It can also lead to dimple formation above the skin of the breast where there is fat necrosis.
A lipoma is an accumulation of fat tissue or the proliferation of fat tissue to form a lump. Lipoma can form anywhere in the body, including the breasts. It is painless unless it gets infected. It is a benign and non-cancerous condition. It is generally hereditary and can run in families. It doesn’t need any treatment if it doesn’t get infected or causes pain or discomfort.
These are sac-like structures filled with milk that develop in the breasts. They can develop in breastfeeding women. They are benign and non-cancerous.
Fibrocystic disease of the breast is a condition in which there are multiple lumps in one or both breasts. They can cause pain sometimes. They are harmless and non-cancerous. They are thought to be due to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.
It is a benign tumour or non-cancerous tumour which can grow in multiple regions of the body, including the breasts. In the breast, hamartoma can consist of various tissues like fat tissue, fibrous tissue, etc. It can cause deformity and swelling of the breast as it grows in size.
Papilloma is a growth which appears like a wart. If the papilloma grows or develops in ducts inside the breast, it is called intraductal papilloma. It can occur in women of any age group ranging from young women to elderly women. In young women, there can be multiple intraductal papillomae in the breast. It can be associated with the discharge of blood from the nipples.
It is the inflammation or swelling of the breast generally caused by bacterial infections. It can occur in breastfeeding women. It causes redness, swelling and pain of the affected breast. It needs treatment with antibiotics to kill the bugs.
Trauma to the breast due to various reasons like Road traffic accidents, physical abuse, can cause the formation of breast lump due to various reasons like fat necrosis, etc.
Breast cancer is one of the less common causes of breast lumps in women. But, it needs prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent spread and complications. The lump of breast cancer is hard, firm and non-mobile or non-movable. It is fixed to the breast tissue. It is generally painless but can become painful if an infection or ulceration develops over it.
There can be changes of skin over the breast like dimpling of the skin. The nipple of the affected breast can become inverted or retracted. You can notice bloody discharge or discharge of another colour from the breast. Not all the symptoms of breast cancer need to be present, it can present with few symptoms as well.
When to see a doctor:
Though breast cancer is seen in a minority of cases of breast lumps, and the majority of cases are non-cancerous, breast cancer needs to be ruled out promptly, because if breast cancer is not diagnosed at early stages, there can be many complications and spread of cancer to other body parts.
You need to see a physician or surgeon or gynaecologist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- If you see any irregular lump in the breast
- If you notice the lump is hard, fixed and not movable
- If you have any inversion or retraction of the nipple
- If there is any bloody discharge or discharge of any other colour from the breast
- If there are any skin changes over the breast
- If you notice any lump in axilla or underarm along with breast lump
- If you have any symptoms like loss of weight, lack of appetite, night sweating, etc along with breast lump
Even though you might not have all the above symptoms, it is prudent to consult a doctor if you have a breast lump, to do a proper physical exam, do appropriate investigations and receive prompt treatment if essential.