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Benign Breast Lumps

Any change in the breast needs to be investigated by your doctor.

You should see your GP, who will decide whether you need referral to a Breast Specialist.

Most breast lumps will be benign, but it is likely you will need investigations such as imaging and possibly biopsy.


Fibroadenomas are benign breast lumps that do not increase the risk of breast cancer.

They are common, especially in women under the age of 30 years.

They vary in size and can be affected by hormonal changes (e.g., menstrual cycle, pregnancy).

Diagnosis of a fibroadenoma depends on:

  • the history of the lump (how long it has been there, whether it is growing),

  • imaging such as ultrasound and/or mammogram

  • a biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis

Most fibroadenomas do not need removal.​

Your Breast Surgeon will discuss with you circumstances where removal would be recommended.

Breast Cysts

Breast cysts are fluid-filled bubbles in the breast tissue.

Many are too small to feel, however larger cysts can present as a lump which is sometimes painful.

Cysts are common, especially between the ages of 35 & 50 years. 

They are not dangerous and do not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.

Fluid can be drained from a cyst with a needle if it is painful, otherwise, no treatment is necessary.

Women with many cysts may have quite lumpy breasts, which can make self-examination challenging. It is important to remember that any new change in the breast should be checked by your doctor.

Other causes

  • Lipoma (fatty lump)

  • Trauma (bruise, haematoma, 'fat necrosis')

  • Ridges of breast glandular tissue


Whilst most breast lumps are benign, breast cancer needs to be ruled out.

Your Breast Surgeon will assess your history and perform a breast examination before determining what investigations need to be done to confirm your diagnosis and exclude cancer.

Possible investigations include:

  • Imaging e.g. mammogram and ultrasound

  • Needle biopsy

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