There are different types of lumps in the breast and not all of them are cancerous. Breast development abnormalities present from birth, premature breast development in pre-teenagers and solid masses in breast like fibroadenoma, breast abscesses (lactating and non-lactating) and cysts. Fibroadenomas are usually present in teenagers and those in early twenties. Most fibroadenomas are 1 – 2cm in size and growth beyond 5cm is unusual. These lumps may resolve on their own spontaneously.
Lactating breast abscesses arise from unsatisfactory breastfeeding which may cause milk retention and stasis (the stoppage or diminution of flow). This could lead to infection and can be treated with antibiotics early on. Non-lactating breast abscesses can occur in circumstances other than lactation. These lumps can be treated with antibiotics and ultrasound-guided drainage at the early stages.
Breast cysts usually occur in the premenopausal period (35 – 50 years of age). They may be single or multiple. About 5% of women develop a breast cyst. They normally contain around 20ml of fluid and are easily diagnosed using sonar (ultrasound). Treatment is then followed up by aspiration to remove the fluid.