With the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention estimating that nearly 8 million people die yearly from cancer, the need for cancer cures and treatments is more important than ever. Even with billions of dollars spent on cancer research yearly, the cause still eludes us.
The idea of cancer invading your body or the body of a loved one is a bit much to accept for even the most austere individual.
But not all tumors are a cancer signature. In fact, the majority of tumors doctors discover about breast tumors are usually not cancerous.
It is important to always conduct breast exams on yourself and report any to your doctor if you feel any unusually hard, stationary lumps.
Review some of the most common non-cancerous breast tumors before you cry cancer and drive yourself nuts over nothing!
Cysts develop anywhere in the body. It is a fluid-filled “ball” that may feel lumpy and could be painful, though most are painless and undetectable. Cysts are most common in women during their menstrual period. They typically are not a huge worry unless they are very painful. A high intake of sugar and caffeine are often related to cysts but there is no solid reason for why they develop. Cyst do not cause cancer.
Fibroadenomas are begin breast tumors often found in women under 40. These tumors usually do not turn into cancer, though larger ones may become problematic. These tumors are made of gradual tissue (responsible for storing and secreting milk) and stromal tissue (responsible for connecting organs). A woman can feel fibroadenomas because they are usually hard, painless and mobile. Larger fibroadenomas will eventually need to be removed if they start to change the breast shape. Like cysts, it is unknown why fibroadenomas develop.
Phyllodes tumors (or “phylloides”) act very similar to fibroadenomas. But these tumors can be found in women of all ages. Phyllodes tumors have more stromal tissue in them. Most of these tumors are benign, but rarely could be malignant. Additionally, according to cancer.org, it is possible for the cells in a phyllodes tumor to be “border-line”, meaning some of the cells could be abnormal but not cancerous. The website further states that it is possible for the tumor to metastasize as sarcoma (cancerous cells that lack association with larger cells) cancer but not breast cancer. To treat a phyllodes tumor, it is surgically removed and a small sample of surrounding tissue is biopsied. Tumor removal often means a mastectomy will be done. Other treatments include radiation and chemotherapy.
An article on U.S. National Library of Medicine website describes intraductual papillomas as benign tumors in the milk ducts. These lumps are usually painful, enlarging breasts and causing nipple discharge. Intraductual papillomas are located under the nipple and detection is seen with an ultrasound or x-ray. These tumors are usually small but will need to be surgically removed and biopsied to rule out cancer.
Don’t be stubborn or scared of your breasts. Routine doctor appointments and self-examinations are the best modes of prevention. Not all breast complications are cancerous. If you notice changes in your breast, see your doctor immediately. Early detection is the surest way to healthy breasts!
[Image via HNGN.com]