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Small Lump On My Breast

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm 17 years old and there is a small lump on my breast. It's not even the size of a dime, but it's been there for a long time. It doesn't hurt at all and there's nothing else wrong. I'm just really scared that it could be something bad. please help me.
Signed: Small Lump On My Breast

Dear Small Lump On My Breast,

 

It is important for you to meet with your primary care physician, gynecologist, or adolescent medicine specialist so that this lump can be examined. Only a physical examination of the area and a complete understanding of your medical history and the symptoms associated with this lump will give you an accurate diagnosis and a reliable idea of any treatment that may be needed.

 

There are several things that can cause a lump in the breast:

 

  • Breast cancer: A malignant (has the potential to be dangerous) tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Common symptoms include a change in how the breast or nipple feels, a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area, nipple tenderness, a change in how the breast or nipple looks, a change in the size or shape of the breast, a nipple turned inward into the breast, the skin of the breast, areola or nipple appears scaly, red, or swollen, the skin has ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange, discharge of fluid from the nipple. The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women over 60 and the disease is not common before menopause.

 

  • Breast abscess: A localized collection of pus that develops in response to an infection. An abscess is typically painful, appears as a swollen area and is warm to the touch. The skin around an abscess typically appears pink or red.

 

  • Cellulitis: A common infection of the lower layers of the skin (dermis) and the subcutaneous tissues (areas underneath the skin) caused by a bacterial infection. Cellulitis usually begins as a small area of pain and redness on the skin. This area spreads to the surrounding tissues, resulting in the typical signs of inflammation – redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. Other symptoms include fever and swollen lymph nodes in the area of the infection.

 

  • Fibroadenoma: Benign (not dangerous to the health) tumor containing fibrous tissues and glands

 

  • Injury to the area which has caused swelling and/or bruising.

 

  • Mastitis: Breast infection or inflammation that mostly occurs in breast-feeding mothers.

 

To ease your fears, FX wants you to know that you are probably dealing with some kind of infection of the breast (which can be treated) or some kind of benign tumor (meaning it is not cancerous). It is unlikely that you have breast cancer, as breast cancer is very rare in teenagers. But, again, meet with your doctor so you can get an accurate diagnosis and receive any needed treatment.

 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or you can call Girl’s Street – A Young Woman’s Health Program – at 908.522.2555. If you live outside of New Jersey you can contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network primary care physicians or gynecologists.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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