Palpable masses or lumps in the breast are common, and about 80 percent are benign. However, they can be a presentation of cancer so should always be promptly evaluated by a healthcare professional, particularly if they are new or have undergone a recent change. The evaluation of a breast lump is dependent on your age, your family history, medications you are on, and other health issues.
In younger, premenopausal women, breast lumps are common and may change with the menstrual cycle. Fibrocystic changes are seen in about half of the population and usually will be felt in both breasts. Most women describe these as feeling like a cluster of grapes. They will usually be least prominent about seven days after the start of the menstrual cycle. A mass that grows, doesn't change with the menstrual cycle, is associated with nipple discharge or bleeding, or feels hard like a pearl should be given immediate medical attention. Ultrasound, mammography, or an MRI may be performed, and even if imaging is negative, an aspiration or biopsy may be recommended.
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