What You Should Know if You Find a Lump

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40.

You’ve discovered a lump in your breast. Now what?
First of all, don’t panic, says Phil Evans, M.D., Director of the UT Southwestern Center for Breast Care and also President of the American Cancer Society.

“Roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of lumps women find on their own are noncancerous,” he says. “They could be benign fibrous tumors of the breast, fluid filled cysts, or just dense breast tissue. The important thing is that you consult a doctor if you notice anything suspicious or any changes in your breast.”

What happens next:

  • Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, then perhaps send you for a mammogram or sonogram.
  • If a spot on a mammogram or sonogram is suspicious, you may have a needle biopsy, which draws tissue from the affected area to be examined.
  • If tests prove there’s cancer, you would then see a surgeon about having the cancerous area removed.