(or why are they recommending that I have a breast biopsy)
Breast self examination (BSE) is an exercise that should be performed by women on a regular basis to detect lumps in the breast. Most breast lumps are discovered by women themselves and are usually non cancerous. However, all new breast lumps should be brought tot he attention of your doctor for assessment and to determine if other studies should be performed. BSE may be best performed at the same time of the menstrual cycle or at the same time of the month in the woman without menses.
Types of breast lumps: Breast lumps may be related to fibrocystic changes in the breast. These changes are most apparent in pre menopausal women and are directly related to hormonal status. Breasts normally swell with l=fluid, most notably during the week before menstruation. At this time, these lumps may be tender and more prominent. Following the menses, these lumps may decrease in size. If these lumps are new, however, they deserve to be checked by your doctor. Fibrocystic changes are the most common cause of breast lumps in pre menopausal women. Associated the these changes are simple cysts that can become quite large (contain several milliliters of greenish-brown fluid) and be tender. These may be detected by ultrasound and/or may be aspirated by your doctor to see if removal of the fluid causes the mass to go away.
Fibroadenomas are rubbery, discrete lumps that occur in women starting in adolescence and progressing into mid life. In older women, these lumps may undergo calcification and present later in life. These are related to estrogen stimulation and are solid tumors containing both fibrous and glandular tissue. They are solid and benign lumps that can grow to be several centimeters in diameter especially in young women.
Weight loss may result in a change in you breast exam. With a decrease in the overlying fatty layer of the breast, the underlying architecture of the breast may be easier to feel. Previously non palpable (not able to be felt) lumps may now be felt and may need to be checked by your doctor.
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