What are the most common causes for pain in a woman s breasts?
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Breast pain in a woman can be cyclic or noncyclic. Cyclic pain is usually caused due to hormonal fluctuations which happens with menstruation. Most women get accustomed to this, and very few require actual treatment. However, noncyclic pain is a cause for concern and requires intervention. This could be due to fibrous changes and/or cysts and it is better to investigate further to rule out more serious issues. If you have a strong family history of breaste cancer, go for annual breast exam, which can help track any changes. Any pain lasting more than 3 weeks should be immediately investigated.
What are some common causes for lumps in a woman s breasts?
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Lumps in the breast can be caused by various problems. There could be a lumpy feeling in the breasts associated with hormonal changes related to menstruation and pregnancy. Cysts are very common in the breasts given their structure, and these fluid-filled sacs can produce lumps. The most worrying cause for lumps, however, is breast cancer. These are more firm than the cysts and can be identified on breast exams. Lumps which persist for a period of time and/or seem to grow in size should be investigated to rule out breast cancer.
Learning self-breast exam can help in identifying lumps which may be cancerous at an early stage.
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Though pain and lumps in the breasts are common, they can be diagnosed at an early stage if periodic breast exams are done for women more than 35 years of age, especially if they have a family history. Women should learn self-breast exam, and when anything abnormal is detected, then the further investigation can be done. Women over the age of 35 should learn self-breast exam so they can have a constant check and not wait for the annual exam to identify a problem.
Any pain and/or breast lumps would require surgery
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This would depend on the underlying cause of the pain and/or lump. For cyclical pain associated with hormonal changes, no surgical intervention is required. For lumps which could be cystic or cancerous in nature, definitely surgical removal followed by post-op care including chemotherapy is advised. Some may not be cancerous and can be observed before surgery is done. Most women have lumpy, painful feeling with their menstrual cycles, which they get accustomed to over a period of time.
Not all lumps in the breasts are cancerous
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Majority of the lumps in the breasts are benign. In fact, most of them are cyclical associated with hormonal changes of menstruation. This goes away with the reduction of hormone levels, and do not require any treatment. Some lumps, which grow in size, continue to be painful, and change in consistency could indicate something more serious and would need further investigation. If you have a lump in the breast, watch for changes in color, size, and consistency.