Myth: All breast changes and lumps are a sign of cancer.
No. Over the course of a woman’s lifetime, her breasts will grow and change multiple times (puberty, menstruation, pregnancy… to name a few). Most times, these changes occur naturally, due to hormonal changes in the body, and are perfectly normal. However, you know your body best. If something feels unnatural, you can always check with your doctor.
So, what’s with the fear of breast lumps? There has been a constant dialogue about breast self-examination (BSE) since the 1960s in hopes to detect cancer early. However, there is no difference in mortality between women who practice BSE and those who find a lump naturally. Rather, BSE has increased fear, leading to an increased number of healthcare visits and twice the number of benign (non-cancerous) biopsy results. It’s more important to be breast aware.
While it’s important that we are breast aware and in tune with the changes that go on in our bodies, it’s also important that we aren’t allowing complicated information and/or issues to be misinterpreted and spread in a frightening way.
The truth is, most often, finding a lump in your breasts is nothing to freak out about. 4 out of 5 (or roughly 80%) of breast lumps are benign. There are many different types of benign breast changes/lumps. Here are a few:
For a full list, click HERE.
It’s always best to tell an adult that you trust and check with your health care provider if you notice that your breast looks or feels different than usual. The best time to call is when you first notice a breast change. Even if it is a false alarm, you’ll be happy you checked.