Benign Breast Disease


If you experience monthly breast changes, you know tenderness or lumps can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle. But if you’ve recently felt a breast lump for the first time, you probably feel alarmed.

It’s natural to assume that breast lumps are a sign of cancer, because lumps are a common breast cancer symptom. But around 80 percent of breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). Several medical conditions known as “benign breast disease” can cause lumps to form in one or both breasts.

Even though your breast lump may be harmless, you should still alert your doctor. He or she may want to confirm that the lump is truly benign—and give you some peace of mind.

What is Benign Breast Disease?

Breast tissue is sensitive to hormone changes. That’s why women often report painful breasts during their period or the onset of menopause.

Along with pain and tenderness, people with benign breast conditions can develop cysts or tumors. These “lumps” may or may not be painful, and can fluctuate in size.

Treating Benign Breast Disease at Mercy 

Mercy’s breast care specialists understand that breast changes can be worrisome. Our team will provide comfort and reassurance—along with thorough diagnosis and treatment.

If your breast lump is new or you have other unusual symptoms, your doctor may ask you to have one or more of the following tests:

Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment plan may include:

  • Monthly breast self-exams. Some benign breast disorders, including fibrocystic changes, do not need medical treatment. But if you become familiar with the look and feel of your breasts, you can identify abnormal changes that require follow-up.
  • Fine needle aspiration to remove fluid from cysts
  • Breast surgery to remove large or painful cysts or tumors

If you need help managing your benign breast condition, turn to Mercy for expert care and guidance. Our doctors will help you overcome painful or unsightly symptoms, and help you maintain lifelong breast health.

Benign Breast Disease

Dr. Susan Luedke

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