Introduction

If you feel a lump in your breast, you should always get it checked by a GP.  Most breast lumps are harmless but some can be serious.

See your GP if you notice:

  • a lump in your breast or armpit
  • any other unusual changes in your breasts - such as the nipple turning inwards, dimpled skin or bloodstained nipple discharge

Changes in the breast can be a sign of breast cancer.  This is easier to treat if found early.

What happens at your GP appointment

The GP will look at and examine your breasts.

If they're not sure what's causing the lump, they'll refer you to a hospital or breast clinic for further tests.

These tests usually show that a lump isn't cancer.

What happens at the breast clinic

At the hospital or breast clinic, you may have a:

  • breast examination
  • scan - usually a breast X-ray (mammogram) or ultrasound
  • biopsy - where a  needle is inserted into the lump to remove some calls for testing

These tests are often done during the same visit.  You'll usually be told the results on the same day, although biopsy results take longer - you should get them within a week.

Breast Cancer Care has more information about what to expect at a breast clinic appointment.

Treatment for a lump depends on the cause.  Most are harmless and may go away on their own without treatment.

Causes of breast lumps

Lumps in the breast can have lots of different causes.

Most are due to something harmless, such as non-cancerous tissue growth (fibroadenoma) or a build-up of fluid (breast cyst).

But sometimes they can be a sign of something serious, such as breast cancer.

Don't try to self-diagnose the cause of your lump - always see a GP.

Call NHS Direct Wales

If you can't speak to your GP or don't know what to do next call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 Wales if available in your area.

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The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS Choices.
Last Updated: 21/09/2018 13:19:17