Young women usually have dense breasts because their milk systems might be needed for feeding babies. Sometimes this thickness is felt as a lump or a mass of tissue. As women age, their milk systems shrink and are replaced by fat. By menopause, most women's breasts are completely soft.
Normal breast tissue often feels nodular (lumpy) and varies in consistency from woman to woman. Even within each individual woman, the texture of breast tissue varies at different times in her menstrual cycle, and from time to time during her life.
For most new mums, if their baby is feeding well and frequently, these feelings of heaviness pass without problems. But some produce almost more milk than their breasts can hold, which makes them feel rock hard and uncomfortably full – a condition called engorgement.
Engorgement happens when too much milk builds up in your breast. It can be very painful. Other symptoms of engorgement include: breast hardness.
Breast tissue in and of itself can feel somewhat lumpy and sponge-like, so it can be hard to know if what you're feeling is an actual lump or just normal breast tissue. "A breast lump will feel like a distinct mass that's noticeably more solid than the rest of your breast tissue.
There are different reasons why breast lumps develop. Causes include infection, trauma, fibroadenoma, cyst, fat necrosis, or fibrocystic breasts. Breast lumps may develop in both males and females but are more common in females. Some lumps are cancerous, but most are not.
Stimulating, caressing or simply holding breasts sends nerve signals to the brain, which trigger the release of the 'cuddle hormone' called oxytocin, a neurochemical secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland in the brain.
We found that the skin of the superior quadrant was the most sensitive part of the breast, the areola was less sensitive, and the nipple was the least sensitive part. The cutaneous sensibility of all tested areas decreased significantly with increasing breast size and increasing breast ptosis.
Breast massage therapy can ease the breasts' sensitivity and provide better blood circulation to the breast. Gentle massage can also increase milk supply. Massage can help warm up and loosen the tissues around the breasts' milk ducts and help the milk flow.
Shape and size of a breast lump
A tumor may feel more like a rock than a grape. A cancerous lump is usually hard, not soft or squishy. And it often has angular, irregular, asymmetrical edges, as opposed to being smooth, Dr. Comander says.
Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. Cancerous lumps that can be felt from the outside of your body can appear in the breast, testicle, or neck, but also in the arms and legs.
Commonly developing from the mammary glands or ducts, such malignant lumps generally (about 50 percent) appear in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast, extending into the armpit, where tissue is thicker than elsewhere.
Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, noncancerous (benign) lumps that are most commonly found in women in their 20s and 30s. They are the most common benign lumps in women and can occur at any age. They are increasingly being seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone therapy.
Fibrocystic breast changes lead to the development of fluid-filled round or oval sacs (cysts) and more prominent scar-like (fibrous) tissue, which can make breasts feel tender, lumpy or ropy. Fibrocystic breasts are composed of tissue that feels lumpy or ropelike in texture.
Breast cancer lumps can vary in size. Typically, a lump has to be about one centimeter (about the size of a large lima bean) before a person can feel it; however, it depends on where the lump arises in the breast, how big the breast is, and how deep the lesion is.
Reasons to consult a health care provider include: Finding a new breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue or the other breast. Noticing a change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast. Having breast pain that doesn't go away after the next period.
Both benign and malignant masses can be rounded and mobile. Only when cancers are quite advanced are they fixed to skin or the underlying chest wall, and not moveable. Any new, persistent, or changing lump in your breast should be evaluated by your physician.
As women age, their milk systems shrink and are replaced by fat. By menopause, most women's breasts are completely soft. This can make normal lumps more noticeable. Sometimes women find their breasts feel different when they lose or gain weight and sometimes breasts change for no obvious reason.
However, the only way to confirm whether a cyst or tumor is cancerous is to have it biopsied by your doctor. This involves surgically removing some or all of the lump. They'll look at the tissue from the cyst or tumor under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
Even if they're detected as a lump, bump or mass in the breast, they're usually painless. Breast cysts, on the other hand, if they develop quickly, often compress the tissue around them and can cause pain. So, while some breast cysts may be painless, they tend to appear as a lump that hurts.
Around 95 out of every 100 women (around 95%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis. Around 85 out of every 100 women (around 85%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. Around 75 out of every 100 women (around 75%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis.
A moveable lump means that you can easily move it beneath the skin with your fingertips.
Studies show that even though breast cancer happens more often now than it did in the past, it doesn't grow any faster than it did decades ago. On average, breast cancers double in size every 180 days, or about every 6 months.
A breast lump that's painless, hard, irregularly shaped and different from surrounding breast tissue might be breast cancer. Skin covering the lump may look red, dimpled or pitted like the skin of an orange. Your breast size and shape may change, or you may notice discharge from the nipple.