Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"How do lumps in the breast develop?"

ZocdocAnswersHow do lumps in the breast develop?


My mother found a lump in her breast. It turned out to be benign and not cancerous. I?m curious though, how do these lumps in the breast develop? If my mother found a lump does it make it more likely that I will also develop a similar lump later in life?


First of all, I am very glad to hear that your mother's lump turned out not be cancer! As you know, breast cancer is very common in older women, and so your mother did the right thing by having this checked out promptly. Lumps in the breast are common, and most women will probably have at least one lump in their breast at some point. Lumps develop because the breast is full of glands (whose job is to produce milk). Because these glands are potentially growing and changing in size under the influence of female hormones, it is common for a lump of gland tissue to develop. Often, these lumps are benign gland changes, such as cysts or 'ropy' strands of tissue known as fibrocystic changes. However, the concern is that in some cases they may be cancerous or precancerous. Breast cancer does run in families. If your mother had breast cancer this would definitely but you at great risk however the same is not true necessarily of breast lumps. In order to prevent breast cancer the most important thing you can do is have annual checkups with your primary care doctor, who will help to screen you for breast cancer.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.