A General Understanding About Breast Lumps During Pregnancy

Anything like a bulge, swelling, bump or a lump in any part of one’s breast can be considered as a breast lump. Such a protrusion might feel different from the rest of the breast or breast tissues surrounding it. If you are expecting, and you find a lump in any part of your breast, do not panic because in most cases these lumps are non-cancerous.

Breast Lumps during Pregnancy

During pregnancy, various changes take place in your breasts, and this makes them heavier, firmer and lumpier. Especially during your 2nd or 3rd trimester, a lump might be just because of a milk duct that’s blocked.

A blocked milk duck can easily be recognised, as it happens to be red, hard and tender, and in some days automatically gets cleared up. These harmless bulges tell you that your body is getting ready to provide nourishment to your baby.

Normally lumps that cause pain are not harmful (cancerous); for example, lumps due to Fibroadenosis. It’s a breast disease which involves certain benign conditions. This can cause the breast size to increase. Apart from this, firm and smooth lumps can be caused due to breast cysts (fluid-filled cysts or sacs) in breast tissue.

In younger women (mostly), hard, round and smooth tissue lumps get developed on the outer side of their milk ducts, these are called Fibroadenomas. These are known to change their position on the breast, so are also called breast mice.Sometimes pus gets accumulated inside one’s breast, forms a lump and cause pain; this condition is called Breast Abscesses. The affected breast part becomes swollen and reddish. This is also sometimes accompanied by high fever.Also, conditions like Intraductal Papilloma (looks like a wart; formed in milk-duck), Mastitis (pain in breast tissue with inflammation), Lipoma (fatty lump growth) and Fat Necrosis (irregular solid lump), can lead to benign (non-cancerous) lumps.Therefore, the regular self-examination is a must in the first place, to detect whether one’s breast lump is a benign or cancerous one.

After delivery, breastfeeding the newborn is beneficial for both the mother and the baby. In a case of the new mommy, breastfeeding will decrease her breast cancer risk in future.

Cancerous Lumps during Pregnancy

Though, it has been researched that pregnant women are rarely attacked by breast cancer. And if one is below thirty-five years of age, the chances are further reduced. A pregnant woman with breast lumps can get detected with breast cancer.

When a woman is expecting, her body goes through certain hormonal changes; this can accelerate the growth of this disease. Moreover, during pregnancy it’s normal for one’s breasts to get thickened; this does not let her notice any lump or tumour formed initially.

For this reason, when breast cancer lumps are spotted later, they are much bigger and advanced. So, especially during pregnancy, one must get their breasts examined on a regular basis.

What Is Breast Cancer?

When cell division in any part of the body happens in an uncontrolled manner, a cluster of cells is formed that takes control over the tissues around it, and eventually affects other body parts. This phenomenon is called cancer. In the case of breast cancer a group of such cells, created due to such abnormal cell division, forms a malignant tumour/lump. Till now it has been detected mostly in women; in men it’s rare.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Visiting your physician regularly before your child is born will keep both you as well as your child in good health. These prenatal visits need to include your breast exams if you want to be certain about not having breast cancer or for an early detection of the same. Also, your physician or nurse will tell you about performing self-examination in the right way.

Normally doctors go for a mammogram to examine a lump. As the breast’s density increases during pregnancy, even mammogram sometimes might fail to detect any danger. So here 3D mammograms can be much more trusted.

If doctors suspect any lump as a threat, the biopsy is done. Ultrasound can also be given for evaluating any disease, plus guiding the biopsy.

The most important question that bothers women with breast cancer is, “Will my baby be okay?” Any fact, like a mother’s breast cancer harming her baby, has not been proved yet. However, there are risks involved in the treatments.

Doctors consider surgery as a safe measure. In the case of an early detected cancer, they ask the patient to go for a removal of the affected part of her breast. And because radiation might be harmful to the baby, radiation therapy is given post pregnancy. In situations where chemotherapy is a must, it’s done only after an expecting mother’s first trimester. This decreases the chances of the baby getting affected.

In the advanced stages, the pregnant patient needs surgery as well as chemotherapy, and this obviously can harm her baby. Here the mother is asked to consult with her doctor and family and decide if she wants to go for the treatment.