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Breast Cancer

Difference between a lump and breast tissue

03/03/2008

Question:

I found a lump in my left breast. My doctor told me it is normal breast tissue, but prescribed a mammogram. How can I tell the difference between what feels like and appears to be a lump and normal breast tissue?

Answer:

In general, as a woman ages, her breast tissue becomes less smooth and more "lumpy".  Instead of feeling like smooth sand on a beach, it feels like smooth pebbles on a beach.  These "pebbles" are actually what are called lobules of breast tissue.  They are soft, smooth, and usually easily movable.  Cancer is hard, irregular, and fixed - like a rough rock buried in the earth.

Do a breast self-exam now to become familiar with what normal breast tissue feels like.  You are looking for a change from this baseline...

For more information:

Go to the Breast Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University