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Female Breast DiseaseClinic


Breast problems, such as breast lumps, breast pain or tenderness, nipple discharge or inversion, and changes in the skin of the breast, are common in women of all ages, from adolescents to older women. While it can be frightening to discover a new breast problem, most breast problems are not caused by breast cancer.

This topic will review some of the most common breast problems, including those that you or your healthcare provider may find. This article will also review how common breast problems are evaluated and treated.

You or your healthcare provider may find a breast lump by looking at or feeling your breast. It is difficult to determine by examination alone if a lump is caused by breast cancer. Although most breast lumps in women age 20 to 50 are not cancerous, all new breast lumps should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to determine if further testing is needed.
  • Evaluation :
    After a breast examination, the best test for evaluating a breast lump depends, in part, upon your age.
  • Women under age 30 :
    omen who are age 30 or older who find a new breast lump will need a diagnostic mammogram, and usually an ultrasound, as well. During a diagnostic mammogram, a mammography technician works with a radiologist to study the area that feels or appears abnormal. If the lump appears suspicious on the mammogram and/or the ultrasound, a breast biopsy is usually recommended. (

    If the lump does not go away when your period is over, you will likely need further testing with a breast ultrasound or needle aspiration biopsy to determine whether the lump is fluid filled or solid. Mammograms are not usually performed in women under 30 years old, although a mammogram may be needed if the ultrasound does not provide enough information.
  • Women age 30 and older :
    Good for patient who have heart disease.
  • Ultrasound and needle aspiration :
    DUltrasound of the breast may be recommended to determine whether a lump is fluid filled or solid. Needle aspiration (using a needle and syringe to withdraw fluid) is another option.

    1] Fluid-filled cysts are not usually caused by cancer and only require treatment if they cause discomfort. Treatment for a fluid-filled cyst, if necessary, usually includes draining the fluid with a needle.

    2] Women with a solid or "complex" (fluid and solid) breast nodule are usually advised to have a biopsy.
  • Breast biopsy :
    A breast biopsy is usually recommended to further evaluate a new breast lump. A breast ultrasound, mammogram, or needle aspiration may be recommended before a biopsy.

    If your healthcare provider can feel the lump, s/he can often biopsy the area with a needle right in the office. This may involve removing some cells (fine needle aspiration) or a small sample of tissue (core needle biopsy).

    If the abnormality cannot be felt but is visible on the ultrasound, a needle biopsy can be done under ultrasound guidance. This involves placing a needle in the abnormal area and removing a sample of tissue, which is later examined with a microscope.

If the abnormality can be seen only on the mammogram, there are two ways to biopsy the area:

1] A needle biopsy may be done in radiology with local anesthesia using mammographic guidance (called stereotactic biopsy).

2] Some biopsies must be done surgically instead. In this case, the radiologist will work with the surgeon to mark the abnormal area with a thin wire or a radioactive seed prior to surgery. After the radiologist places the seed or wire, the surgeon can use it to guide removal of the proper area. Surgical biopsy is usually recommended only if the biopsy cannot be obtained with less invasive methods.