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A bump, lump, or even a pimple suddenly appearing on the surface of the breast, can raise a suspicion and fear of breast cancer, especially in women. This fear occurs because most women know how frequent and dangerous this malignant disease can be, and according to statistics, 60-80% of all breast lumps are benign, but the remaining percentage belongs to breast cancer, which means that breast lumps should never be overlooked and left without detailed examination. Here are some of the most common types of breast lumps, along with their characteristics by which you can recognize them.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic breast disease is by far the most common breast tissue disorder in women. In fact, more than 60% of women have some level of fibrocystic changes in their breasts. The main factor for the development of these fibrocystic changes is constant fluctuations in hormonal levels during a menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, these hormonal changes are even more pronounced. Female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), affect the enlargement and they influence breast tissue in different phases of menstrual cycle. The breast cells are not always equally responsive to these hormonal changes, and that is why the fibrous tissue organizes in some areas, making small clumps of fibrous tissue in the breasts. Some of these clumps are very superficial so they can be seen as lumps on the surface of the skin.

It is useful to note that the fibrocystic breast lumps are usually multiple and bilateral.

Women with fibrocystic breasts often feel pain or discomfort, especially right before the period, but this discomfort usually subsides during the first day of menstrual bleeding. Some women do not experience any symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.


Fibroadenoma is a type of a benign breast tumor. These tumors are relatively common and usually occur in young women. They are mostly round in shape, and detached from the surrounding tissue so that you can move them with your fingers, like marbles beneath your skin. Women can have one or more fibroadenomas. These tumors slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer, and they should be removed, especially if they rapidly grow.

Pimples and Acne

The breast skin has numerous sebaceous glands, which means that the skin is extremely susceptible to the development of acne. Acne represents mainly an esthetic issue, because of the visible pimples, but it is sometimes hard to distinguish between acne and deeper tissue changes. If you are not sure, you should visit your doctor to perform a detailed examination.

Breast Cancer

There are several types of breast cancer, and unfortunately, breast cancer is a prevalent and potentially deadly disease. In the majority of cases breast cancer occurs as a lump beneath the skin, but unlike fibroadenomas, the breast cancer lumps are fixed (you cannot move them with your fingers), irregular shape, hard, painless, and solitary. Breast cancer should be removed as early as possible because it is very invasive and gives metastases very shortly after the appearance of the first symptoms.

The most important thing about all lumps of the breast tissue is that you should not try to assume or make the diagnosis yourself. 

Mammography is an efficient and fast technique, and your doctor can use it to determine the type of your breast lesion and possible indications for its removal. Doctors recommend regular breast tissue examinations, even if there are no visible lesions, because the screening is cheap and easy, and there is no need to gamble with such a dangerous thing as breast cancer.

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