What are non-cancerous breast conditions?

When a lump is found in the breast, a woman may immediately think it's cancer. Breast lumps are not always caused by cancer but may be due to fibrocystic changes in the breast tissue. These changes may be related to varying hormone levels over the menstrual cycle and at other phases of a woman's life including pregnancy and menopause.

An accurate diagnosis is key. When a woman finds a lump in her breast or experiences breast pain, nipple discharge or changes in the skin of the breast or nipple, she should consult her health care provider.

Types of noncancerous breast conditions include:

  • Breast pain
  • Breast lumps (tumors) or cysts
  • Breast infection or mastitis
  • Duct ectasia
  • Fat necrosis
  • Fibrocystic breast
  • Nipple pain or discharge
  • Premenstrual breast changes
Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

Non-cancerous breast conditions include fibrocysts and fibroadenomas. Both lesions are quite comomn in women's breast and show no sign of malignancy. Surgical intervention may be required with enlargement, pain or need for surgical pathological diagnosis.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Non-cancerous or benign breast conditions are very common and not life threatening.

The following are non-cancerous conditions that can feel like a lump in your breast:

  • Cysts: Fluid-filled sacs that develop from dilated lobules or ducts. They most commonly occur in women in their 40s or 50s. A quick ultrasound can identify cysts. They usually do not require treatment, but can be removed by inserting a needle into the cyst and drawing the fluid into a syringe—a procedure called aspiration.
  • Fibroadenomas: Benign fibrous growths that form mostly in younger women in their teens and 20s, though some may form later in life. A large, growing fibroadenoma may be removed surgically. Having fibrous breasts does not increase your risk of cancer, but may make it harder to find growing cancers on mammograms.
  • Pseudolumps: Areas of dense normal breast tissue that can develop in premenopausal women.

Watch as Dr. Oz talks more about these conditions.

This content originally appeared on

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.