Breast Lumps In Women
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- What are causes of breast lumps?
- Infections that cause breast lumps
- Injuries that cause breast lumps
- Non-cancerous growths that cause breast lumps
- Symptoms of breast cancer
- What determines breast cancer risk?
- How are breast lumps evaluated?
- How can a woman be certain that a lump is not cancer?
- How are breast lumps treated?
- Breast Lumps At A Glance
- Patient Comments: Breast Lumps In Women - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Breast Lumps (In Women) - Causes
- Patient Comments: Breast Lumps - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Breast Lumps in Women - Injuries
- Patient Comments: Breast Lumps in Women - Benign Lumps
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are causes of breast lumps?
There are many causes of breast lumps. Some of these causes are harmless, while others can be painful and/or dangerous. Causes of breast lumps include infections, injuries, non-cancerous growths, and cancer.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States. Currently, death rates from breast cancer are declining. The decline in death rates may be due to a combination of earlier detection and better screening as well as improved treatments. While most breast lumps are harmless (benign), every breast lump should be evaluated by a doctor to exclude or establish a diagnosis of cancer.
Picture of the anatomy of the breast
Infections that cause breast lumps
Inflammation of the breast tissue is known as mastitis. Mastitis is especially common in women who are breastfeeding a baby (lactating). When the skin of the nipple (areola) is injured or cracked, such as occurs with nursing, bacteria can enter the wound and cause infections. In a breastfeeding woman, a hard area commonly thought of as a "clogged milk duct" can form. Sometimes, certain treatments (see below) can prevent the painful, hard area from developing into an actual breast infection. Infections can either be a deep pocket of pus, in which the infection looks like it is growing down into the breast (an abscess), or a wider area of skin redness that spreads out (cellulitis). Body piercing in the nipple area increases the risk of breast infections that may be particularly difficult to treat.
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