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CIBC Breast Centre

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Benign Breast Conditions

Most lumps found in the breast are benign (meaning they are not cancerous). Even if a biopsy (taking a small piece of tissue from your body) is recommended by your doctor, this does not mean that you have cancer. However, it is important that you are seen by your doctor to have these lumps checked as soon as possible. Several tests are used to find out if someone has cancer, such as a clinical breast exam and an ultrasound. Sometimes, a biopsy is also needed to know if there is no cancer or hyperplasia (an unusual number of normal cells).

Types of benign breast disease

Fibrocystic changes

As women get older they may begin to feel multiple lumps in their breasts. These lumps, called benign breast disease, are connective tissues in women's breasts that become ropy. You notice this condition more when milk-producing glands are replaced by softer fatty tissue or during pregnancy. These lumps are generally felt around the nipple, the areola and in the upper, outer part of the breast. Unless a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy, this lumpiness generally disappears after menopause. Cysts and fibroademonas are both examples of fibrocystic changes: