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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Benign Breast Lumps

Can Men Have Breast Lumps?

Yes. Men can have tender breast enlargement, often with a lump beneath the nipple. Sometimes this is in one breast, but it often occurs in both. This benign condition is called gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can also occur after certain types of medicines are prescribed.

Can a Breast Lump Indicate an Infection?

Possibly. Sometimes breast infections are first noticed as a painful lump, with or without redness. Mastitis is an infection that often occurs in women who are breastfeeding. Mastitis is an infection caused by bacteria that enter the mammary ducts through the nipple. Localized pockets of infection will appear as tender, warm lumps in the breast.

What Should I Do If I Find a Breast Lump?

See your doctor if you discover any new breast changes. A doctor should examine you if you find:

  • An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle
  • A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
  • A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea
  • A marble-like area under the skin
  • A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
  • Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
  • Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple

What Will Happen at My Appointment?

After taking a detailed health history, your health care provider will perform a thorough breast exam to feel for lumps or other changes in the breast tissue and under the arms.

If there is nipple discharge, a sample will be collected and examined under a microscope to detect the presence of cancer cells.

Breast imaging (mammogram and/or ultrasound) will be performed if your previous studies are not current. Breast imaging helps determine if the lump is a solid mass or filled with fluid.

Your doctor may order a biopsy in order to remove a sample of cells or tissue from your breast. That sample is then given to a pathologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing abnormal tissue changes.

You may return to the doctor for another evaluation in a few weeks.

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