Benign Breast Issues
Most breasts are not uniform in texture. The breast is composed of different components: ductal-lobular (glandular) units, which are responsible for milk production; stroma, which is the supportive tissue and is composed of fibrous substance; and fat or adipose tissue. Depending on the ratio of these components, these cause the breasts to feel nodular or lumpy.
Fibrocystic breast tissue is composed of more glandular and fibrous tissue that result to the breast feeling thickened and rope-like. This is a benign condition that is caused by swelling of the glandular tissue that is, in turn, caused by changes in the menstrual cycle hormones. This is diagnosed by clinical breast exam, a mammogram and a breast ultrasound.
Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous breast tumors that usually occur in adolescents and women below 30 years old. It is caused by an overgrowth of the supporting tissues of the breast and is also affected by a woman’s hormone levels. It is often painless and described as a “marble that is moved easily” when touched. A mammogram may not detect a fibroadenoma so a breast ultrasound is often done. A biopsy may be done to confirm if it is a fibroadenoma and not all fibroadenomas require surgery.
Nipple discharge may be normal or physiologic if it occurs with non-spontaneously or with manipulation. It may be due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and women with hormonal imbalances (ie. thyroid conditions, those with intake of certain medications and hormones).
Nipple discharge may be suspicious if it is persistent, spontaneous, coming from one breast and occurs without manipulation.
Evaluation of nipple discharge may include blood tests to rule out other disease, mammography, breast ultrasound, ductography, biopsy or surgery. It is important to seek consult with a surgeon when suspicious nipple discharge is observed.
Breast pain is a common symptom experienced by women. It is important to note that breast pain does not automatically mean that there is something wrong with your breasts or that it is due to cancer. There are many causes of breast pain and may be divided into two:
Cyclic breast pain is the most common type. It is associated with the menstrual cycle and usually affects both breasts.
Noncyclic breast pain may occur due to injury of the breast, muscular pain of the chest. It can affect one or both breasts.
If the pain is accompanied by a lump, nipple discharge, changes in breast skin texture, it is important to seek consult.