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Most of the time, breast lumps are not a sign of cancer, being just a benign change that is not life-threatening. However, to confirm whether a nodule is benign or malignant, the best way is to perform a biopsy, which consists of removing a piece of the nodule to be evaluated in the laboratory, in order to identify whether there are cancerous cells.
This type of exam can be ordered by the mastologist and is usually done as soon as there are changes in the mammogram that may indicate breast cancer.
However, through breast self-examination, a woman can also identify some characteristics that can lead her to suspect a malignant lump. However, in these cases, it is also recommended to go to the mastologist to carry out the necessary tests and confirm if there is really a risk of cancer.
Features of malignant nodule
Although not an accurate way to identify a malignant lump, breast palpation can help identify features of cancer, which include:
- Irregular lump in the breast;
- Stone hard as a small stone;
- Changes in the breast skin, such as increased thickness or color change;
- One breast looks much larger than the other.
In these cases, you should go to the mastologist for a mammogram and, if necessary, a biopsy, in order to confirm if it is indeed a malignant lump and start the appropriate treatment.
Breast pain does not mean that the lump is malignant, it is more easily related to hormonal changes, although there are cases in which a woman may feel pain when the cancer is very advanced.Learn more about the signs to watch out for during breast self-examination.
Watch the following video and see how to do the self-examination correctly:
How to treat the node
When there is a lump, but the doctor thinks there are no signs of malignancy on the mammogram, treatment can be done with just regular mammograms every 6 months to see if the lump is growing. If it is growing, there is a greater risk of being malignant, and then a biopsy may be ordered.
However, if the malignancy is confirmed by biopsy, treatment for breast cancer is started, which varies according to the stage of development, but which may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, to eliminate the cells carcinogens. Understand more about how breast cancer is treated.