Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes a pea-sized lump to form on one's breast?"
What causes a pea- sized lump on a woman's breast? I know that everyone is afraid of cancer, but I have no family history of that, and plus I think this might just be a cyst or an ingrown hair or something. Couldn't this just be benign?
Breast lumps are a very common occurrence in women of all ages, are a frequent cause of doctor office visits, and can be caused by a variety of conditions. The vast majority (approximately 90 percent) of all breast lumps detected in women aged in their 20s through the early 50s are ultimately diagnosed as benign. The most common diagnoses are fibroadenomas and cysts. Fibroadenomas are small solid collections of fibrous and glandular tissue that are completely benign. Despite the fact that most breast lumps are not dangerous, it is extremely important to exclude cancer as the cause of the breast lump. This is especially true because cancer and benign disease can often present very similarly. While a positive family history does increase one's chances of developing breast cancer, it is certainly not a requirement. Given that you have a lump on the breast and the cause is unclear, you should see your primary care evaluation so that a proper physical exam can be performed. If needed, imaging may be the next step in your work-up, and this may include ultrasound (typically if you are less than 30 years old or pregnant) or mammography (if you are older than 30 years).
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