Benign Breast Disease: Know the Types & Treatment

A number of people find lumps in their breast that are benign i.e., noncancerous. In fact, it is common in women all around the world. While it could be scary to find a lump in your breast, be sure to go to your doctor for testing before reaching any conclusion. 

What Is a Benign Breast Disease?

Benign breast disease is an unusual growth in women’s breasts, which can happen due to changes in the breast tissues. Both women and men are prone to benign breast disease because of various possible reasons:

  • Change in hormonal level
  • Use of medications like birth control
  • Allergy to foods like soy or caffeine 
  • An infection or injury

Types of Benign Breast Conditions

There are five common types of benign breast conditions.

  1. Fibrocystic Changes: This is similar to scar tissue that occurs due to a change in hormonal balance. Fibrosis feels rubbery and firm when touched and is commonly found in women during menstrual cycles. 
  2. Fibroadenomas: This is one of the most common tumors. It is usually painless and can move around the breast if pushed. 
  3. Simple Cysts: These are sacs that are filled with fluids. They usually enlarge during menstruation. 
  4. Traumatic Fat Necrosis: This happens when the breast experiences trauma such as an injury or a surgery, and results in fat forming in the breast as lumps. 
  5. Intraductal papilloma: These are small lumps that are formed near the nipple area.  It usually occurs in women 40-50 years old and can cause bleeding or discharge from nipples. 

Can Men Have Benign Breast Conditions?

Similar to women, men are also prone to breast lumps. Adolescent boys or young men can get enlargements under their nipple area. It can be either in one or both the nipples. This condition is called Gynecomastia. 

Can a Breast Lump Indicate an Infection? 

There is a possibility that the lump you have is due to a breast infection. It can be painful and may or may not have external redness. Mastitis and abscess is one of the common breast infections that women face especially when breastfeeding and is caused by bacteria. Sometimes this needs a procedure to clean the infection.  

What Should I Do if I Find a Lump in My Breast?

Here are a few things that you can do if you find a lump in your breast while examining yourself: 

  • Notice the differences in both breasts in terms of size, shape, color, feel, or appearance. 
  • Notice the change in or around your nipple area. 
  • Check if you are experiencing any blood or other discharge. 
  • Consult with your doctor and get it diagnosed. 

Appointment and Treatment: What Can You Expect?

Once you are sure about the lump, visit your doctor. Here’s what you can expect during your appointment and treatment. 

  • Doctors will examine the lump and discharge, if any. 
  • Breast ultrasound or mammogram may be performed for further examination. 

How Can You Maintain Good Breast Health?

Regular self-examination to become familiar with your breasts and a visit to your doctor are important to be aware of your breast health and prevent benign breast disease. Here are a few things you can practice to maintain good breast health: 

  • Keep track of your family’s health history. 
  • Consult with your doctor for any minor change you notice. 
  • Get a risk assessment to determine your body’s chances of breast cancer development. This can be done at your mammogram appointments.

Want to learn more about benign breast disease and its treatment? Contact us to schedule an appointment.


Dr. Sherry Johnson

Dr. Sherry Johnson is board-certified in General Surgery. She is the only fellowship trained breast oncologist in Anchorage. Dr. Johnson is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Society of Breast Surgeons, and Society of Surgical Oncology. She believes in providing comprehensive and compassionate care to the community that raised her. Dr. Johnson received her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Washington. She pursued her General Surgery Residency at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in Michigan.

Surgery Center of Anchorage

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