According to information from the Mayo Clinic, breast cancer is a disease that will strike one out of every eight women, so it pays to be familiar with the signs. Symptoms of breast cancer include a puslike discharge from the nipple, alterations in the shape or size of the breast and a lump located within the breast itself or near the armpit. Understanding the steps that are required in evaluating a lump for breast cancer can help you to feel more at ease with the process itself.
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Self-evaluate the lump to determine whether it is more likely to be breast cancer or another benign condition such as fibrocystic breast lumps. According to information from the women's health site, Imaginis.com, fibrocystic breast lumps are normally located near the armpit, are round(ish), and are seemingly mobile (not attached to any one place in the breast). Where the lump is firm or hard, immobile, asymmetrical (no corresponding lump in the other breast) and isolated (only one lump in the breast), it is more likely to be cancerous.
Consult your doctor to have the lump tested through non-invasive procedures, such as a mammogram or ultrasound. According to the Mayo Clinic, these procedures will act to scan the breast, making the lump (and its characteristics) more discernible. Through this, your doctor will be able to determine whether the lump is likely benign (non-cancerous) or whether additional steps need be taken to determine its ultimate quality.
Consider a biopsy when the results of non-invasive testing are inconclusive. During a biopsy, your doctor will remove a portion of the lump and send it to a lab for positive testing and identification. This is the ultimate litmus test as to the nature of an otherwise unidentifiable lump. If a biopsy returns a negative result, you have nothing more to worry about.
Evaluating a Lump for Breast Cancer
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