Most breast lumps are due to fatty tissue that can become lumpy as we get older. Lumps can also be due to cysts. Occasionally, particularly in young women, a lump can be caused by a fibroadenoma , which is a non-cancerous overgrowth of the breast tissue (like a mole on the skin). Therefore, if you find a lump, it's most likely not a cancer, but it still has to be checked by your doctor and usually have additional tests.
Most nipple discharges are not worrisome. However, a nipple discharge should be reported to your doctor if it occurs in one breast only, and is spontaneous (comes out without the breast being squeezed). This isn't usually due to anything serious, but should be investigated. A ductogram (an extra test to see the breast ducts) may have to be performed. The most common cause of this type of discharge is a papilloma (a non-cancerous overgrowth of one of the cells lining the ducts). Other causes of discharge may be fibrocystic disease, injury, infection and rarely cancer.
This page is intended as an educational resource only. It is not a substitute for professional care. Please see your physician if you have any concerns about your own health.
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