The moment you feel something different in your breast can be a scary moment. Was it always here? What does it really feel like? Why do I feel this now? Can it be? What do I do?
Let's start first by understanding what is a lump?
A lump is a bump, or a swelling in the breast and usually feels different from other breast tissue in that same area or surrounding areas.
Why do lumps develop themselves?
There are various causes, but the most common as infections, trauma, fibroadenoma, cysts, fat necrosis or fibrocystic breast. Most lumps are NOT cancerous, though if you feel one, make sure to talk to your doctor right away so to be evaluated.
How to do a self-exam
Foremost, if you are worried and suspect a lump that is unusual, call your doctor right away. Meanwhile here are some guidelines to get you started.
After a warm shower look in the mirror and check for any changes such as the size, shape, color or visible swellings.
Raise left arm and repeat step 1
Raise right arm and repeat step 1
Look for any discharges from the nipples, such as watery, milky, yellowy or bloody substance
Lay down, place right arm over your head and with the left hand feel right breast with a firm and smooth motion from under the arm all the way to the ribcage and towards the nipple
Repeat the step 5 on the other side
What are some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Again, just because you may have some of these signs and/or symptoms does not mean you have cancer. ALWAYS check with your doctor.
Breast and/or nipple pain
Swelling, lump, irritation, color change
Nipple discharge and/or retraction
A new mole
Tender or enlarged glands under the arm (armpit area) or closer to neck
Unexplained weight loss or gain
In this link, you will find a great tool from the National Cancer Institute.
Here is another link with an amazingly well done video.
DISCLAIMER: I am not associated with the medical practice. These are links and information that were vital for me when I was diagnosed.