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Check Your Symptoms
Breast lumps or changes are a common health worry. You may notice lumps and other breast changes throughout your life. This may include changes that occur with menstrual periods, pregnancy, and aging. Most breast lumps and breast changes are normal.
Common, noncancerous (benign) breast changes include:
If you have breast implants, there could be changes in the implant over time. Normal activity or an injury to the breast can damage the implant and cause it to leak, deflate, or rupture. The implant may harden, develop ripples, shift position, or change shape. If any of these changes occur, the implant may need to be removed and replaced.
Many people with breast pain or breast lumps worry about breast cancer.
Any breast changes that you see or feel can be checked by your doctor during a clinical breast exam or with an ultrasound or a mammogram.
Early breast cancer is often seen on a mammogram before there are any symptoms. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a painless lump. But sometimes painful lumps are cancerous. Other symptoms of breast cancer include:
Breast development is the first sign of female puberty. In most cases, breasts begin as small, tender bumps under one or both nipples that will get bigger over the next few years. It's not unusual for one breast to be larger than the other or for one side to develop before the other. You may worry that a lump under the nipple isn't normal or that it's a sign of a serious medical problem when it's really a part of normal breast development.
During the rapid hormone changes of puberty, it's common for male breasts to develop extra breast tissue. This is called gynecomastia. The extra breast tissue usually goes away without treatment within a year or two. It can feel uncomfortable. But if it causes pain or worry, talk with your doctor. There are treatments that can help.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause breast problems, such as breast tenderness or nipple discharge. A few examples are:
Cimetidine, such as Tagamet, may cause nipple discharge and breast enlargement in men.
Symptoms of a heart attack may include:
For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, tiredness, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Other breast symptoms to pay attention to can include:
Symptoms of a breast infection may include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in children are:
Pain in adults and older children
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Your doctor may recommend that you do regular breast self-exams. During a breast self-exam, you check your own breasts to look and feel for changes. You learn how your breasts feel and what is normal for you. This can help you spot any changes early.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of:
April 19, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: April 19, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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