Breast Cancer Definition:
Like every other kind of cancer, breast cancer occurs when the cells that make up the breast or surrounding tissues begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner. The uncontrolled multiplication of cells eventually leads to a tumor or lump that you may be able to feel when you examine your breasts. Other times, the tumor cannot be felt but it would be visible on an x-ray.
Breast cancer may be broadly classified as malignant or benign. A tumor is malignant if it is has spread to other areas outside the point where the tumor started. These tumors are usually deadly as they could disturb normal body functions when they spread to vital organs. Benign tumors, on the other hand, are restricted to the point of origination. Benign tumors pose less threat and they are easier to manage.
What do breast cancer lumps feel like?
Women are generally encouraged to self-examine their breasts at least once a month although the latest guideline by the American Cancer Society (ACS) discourages this practice. The general consensus appears to be that self-examination of the breasts could help detect breast cancer early. But what exactly do breast cancer lumps feel like?
First-off, you should know that not every lump you find in your breast should set your alarm bells ringing. Many women have lumps in their breast but they do not have cancer. Studies have shown that about 80% of the lumps found in women’s breast turn out benign. So, it might be of help to know how to differentiate between lumps you should worry about and those you may not worry about. However, it is imperative to reinstate the importance of talking to your doctor once you know any change in your breast. There is no self-examination skill that would be more effective than contacting a professional.
Some properties of cancerous lumps
- Cancerous lumps are generally irregular in shape
- They are often painless at the early stage
- They usually feel soft to firm to the touch
- They often exhibit little to no movement
- They get bigger with time
Again, you should know that all these properties are not diagnostic. It is easy to confuse cancerous tumors with benign lumps or cysts in the breast. Another benign condition known as ‘Fibroadenoma’ could also cause lumps to form in the breast tissues. What is most important is that you should see your physician for a comprehensive examination immediately you notice any change in your breasts.