Benign Breast Conditions

The breast is made up of two main types of tissue:

  • Glandular Tissue - the lobules and ducts of the breast
  • Stromal Tissue - the fatty tissue and supporting ligaments

In any area of the breast, tissues can experience changes, causing benign and/or malignant breast disorders or diseases. The most common among benign breast diseases are:

  • Fibrocystic changes
  • Benign breast tumors
  • Breast inflammation

What types of changes should I be looking for?

While many of the breast changes that women experience are not malignant, if any of the following changes are present for more than two weeks, consultation with a medical provider should be sought:

  • Breast lump or mass
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes in the armpit
  • Changes in size, shape, skin texture or color of breast
  • Skin redness
  • Skin dimpling, puckering or scaliness
  • Nipple changes or discharge, other than breast milk
  • Nipple pulling to one side or a change in direction

What can I expect during the appointment with my health care provider?

  • A physical examination to:
    • Locate any lump and evaluate its size, texture, and relationship to skin and chest muscles
    • Evaluate changes in the nipples or skin
    • Check lymph nodes under the armpit and surrounding areas
  • Recommend imaging tests including diagnostic mammography and/or breast ultrasound
  • Request laboratory evaluation of nipple discharge
  • Request a ductogram X-ray of the nipples
  • If deemed necessary, a biopsy may be scheduled to remove tissue from the suspicious area