Breast Lump

Breast Lump Specialist
Finding a breast lump is undoubtedly alarming, but not all breast lumps are a sign of cancer. Still, they should always be evaluated by an experienced breast specialist, such as Judith Richmond, MD, FACS of the Oregon Breast Center in Lake Oswego, Oregon. If you've detected a breast lump through self-examination, make an appointment by calling the Oregon Breast Center or booking online.

Breast Lump Q & A

by Judith Richmond, MD, FACS

How does a doctor find breast lumps?

When you have a well-woman visit, your doctor performs a breast exam. You may also find a lump on your own during a self-exam; let Dr. Richmond know where to feel to locate the lump. Usually, manual exams are the first step in finding breast lumps.

After that, Dr. Richmond is likely to order imaging to get a picture of the lump and surrounding breast tissue. She can start with an in-office ultrasound to determine if the lump needs further evaluation, then send you in for a mammogram. Typically you should be getting annual mammograms anyway starting at age 45 or if you have a high risk of developing breast cancer.

What causes breast lumps?

Not all breast lumps are something to worry about. But if you feel an abnormality during your self-exams, you shouldn’t hesitate to come in and get it checked out. Breast lumps can stem from:

  • Cysts
  • Enlarged milk glands
  • Noncancerous tumors
  • Blocked mammary ducts
  • Cancerous tumors

Don’t panic if you feel a lump in your breast. Write down when you felt it, how far along you are in your menstrual cycle, and if you have any symptoms. This is all information Dr. Richmond needs to have when you come in for your exam.

When do I need to see a doctor about breast lumps?

Your breast tissue changes throughout the month at different stages of your menstrual cycle, so you may have occasional lumps that aren’t anything to be concerned about. But if you notice a lump or have swelling that persists through two full cycles, it’s time to come in for a checkup.

Let Dr. Richmond know if you have a lump that’s getting bigger or if you have any sort of discharge coming from your nipples. This information helps her diagnose any breast abnormalities you may have.

Do I need to have my breast lump removed?

Possibly. If the lump is somewhat suspicious, Dr. Richmond can do a needle biopsy right in the office. This minimally invasive biopsy allows her to take a small sample of tissue, without having to put you through a surgical procedure. If the lump is cancerous, you probably need to have it removed.

In some cases, Dr. Richmond could suggest a lumpectomy, which allows her to remove the lump and a fractional amount of surrounding healthy tissue. This preserves as much healthy breast tissue as possible while allowing her to fully remove the abnormal growth and get it into the lab for analysis. A lumpectomy is beneficial for diagnosing breast cancer or ruling it out entirely.

Book your appointment to have Dr. Richmond evaluate your breast lump by giving us a call or using our online scheduling system.

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