Spotlight on Breast Health
“Are all breast lumps cancerous?”
Breasts are made of lobules, ducts, and fatty and fibrous connective tissue. The primary function of female breasts is to produce milk for lactation. Breast lumps are common findings on breast-self examinations (BSE), routine clinical breast examinations (CBE) or imaging studies. Typically, these lumps do not cause any symptoms or problems and are not cancer. Many lumps do not require any additional treatment. Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous (benign) breast lumps that more commonly occur in women between the ages of 15 and 35, but can affect women of any age. The lumps may be painless, smooth, rubbery or hard and have a distinct shape. A woman may have one or more Fibroadenomas at the same time in one or both breasts.
**Lynn a 49-year-old Hispanic female complained of a lump in her breast. “I felt a lump in my right breast when looking in the mirror, while getting dressed for work.” She has not seen a health care provider or had a physical examination for several years now. Lynn recalled that two aunts on her father side of the family had the same signs and were diagnosed with breast cancer. Lynn had no previous medical history and was otherwise healthy. Her clinical breast examination performed in her HCP’s office did reveal a small, painless, yet firm and movable lump in the outer quadrant of her right breast.
Because of her presentation and family history of breast cancer, her health care provider (HCP) ordered the following diagnostic and laboratory test: complete blood count (CBC), chemistry, renal panel; thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), liver profile, diagnostic mammogram, and breast ultrasound. The laboratory results were analyzed and reported to Lynn. They were within normal range with the exception of her breast ultrasound. Her HCP thereby referred her for a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), which is a procedure where a small amount of fluid is removed from the lump. The cells within the fluid are sent for additional cytology to determine whether it’s cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Lynn received the cytology report, and the lump was a noncancerous cyst called Fibroadenoma. Her HCP assured her that she would need to perform breast-self exams (BSE) regularly, and no medication or surgical removal known as a lumpectomy is indicated at this time. Lynn’s healthcare provider has advised her to:
• Schedule regular physicals with your healthcare provider
• Perform monthly breast-self exams
• Schedule mammograms every 1-2 years beginning at age 40 as recommended by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG)
• Know your family history
• Note any new lumps in the nipple or breast
• For existing lumps monitor for discharge, changes in size and consistency of lumps (i.e. abnormalities to include pain, swollen, large, firm, fixed, dimpling, sores, etc.) • Report suspicious changes (i.e. excessive coughing, hoarseness, problems swallowing, difficulty breathing, neck pain/fullness, etc.)
• Eat a well-balanced diet (refer to MyPlate.gov)
• Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. Avoid cigarettes and/or other illicit drugs.
• For further evaluation and treatment consultations with other specialists may also be needed.
Disclaimer: This information should not be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider.
The Joys of a Healing Spirit, Inc.
–Tiffani Mickens, MSN, RN--Founder
**Pictured is not Lynn**