BREAST, DISORDERS OF THE
BREAST SELF-EXAMINATION
breast. Breast cysts most commonly affect
women in their 40s and 50s, especially in
the years around the
menopause.
A lump
can be diagnosed as a cyst by
ultrasound
scanning,
a
mammography,
or by with-
drawing fluid from it with a syringe and
needle, which usually results in the lump
disappearing. About half of all women
who have a breast cyst will develop future
cysts. Any new breast lump should be
seen by a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
breast, disorders of the
Disorders af-
fecting the breast that are mostly minor
and respond readily to treatment. The
most important causes of problems are
infection, such as
mastitis
, tumours, and
hormonal changes.
Breast cysts
,
fibro-
adenomas
, other noncancerous tumours,
or, more rarely,
breast cancer
may occur.
Breast pain and tenderness is common
just before
menstruation
or when a woman
is taking hormones. Before menstruation,
breasts may become bigger and lumpy.
Such lumps shrink when menstruation
is over. Hormonal disorders may, rarely,
cause
galactorrhoea
(abnormal
milk
production). In men,
gynaecomastia
may
result from hormonal disturbance or
treatment with certain drugs.
breast enlargement surgery
A type
of
mammoplasty
.
breast-feeding
The natural method of
infant feeding from birth to weaning.
Human milk contains the ideal balance
of nutrients for a baby and provides val-
uable
antibodies
against infections. For
the first few days after birth, the breasts
produce
colostrum.
Milk flow is stimu-
lated by the baby's sucking and is
usually established within 3-4 days.
Breast-feeding problems may occur as
a result of engor-
ged breasts and
cracked nipples or
if the baby has
problems sucking;
a
breast-feeding
advisor
may
be
able to help with
these difficulties.
Breast-feeding can
sometimes cause
an infection that
leads to a
breast
abscess
. In such
cases, treatment with
antibiotic drugs
may mean that it is possible to con-
tinue breast-feeding.
breast implant
An artificial structure
surgically introduced into the breast to
increase its size (see
mammoplasty
).
breast lump
Any mass, swelling, or cyst
that can be felt in the breast tissue. At
least 90 per cent of lumps are noncan-
cerous; the rest are
breast cancer
. Many
women have generally lumpy breasts,
with the lumps more obvious in the days
before a period. Once known as
fibrocys-
tic disease
or
fibroadenosis
, this is now
considered to be a variation of normal.
Lumpy breasts do not increase the risk
of developing breast cancer. However, any
new, distinct, or separate lump should be
assessed by a doctor. In a young woman,
a single lump is most likely to be a
fibroadenoma
. This noncancerous growth
is usually round, firm, and rubbery, cau-
ses no pain, and can be moved about
beneath the skin using the fingertips. In
an older woman, a lump is more likely to
be a noncancerous, fluid-filled
breast cyst
.
Regular
breast self-examination
may de-
tect any changes. Treatment depends on
the cause and type of lump. Cysts can be
drained in a simple outpatient procedure.
Other lumps can be removed surgically.
breast pump
A device used to draw
milk from the breasts in order to relieve
overfull breasts during lactation, to ex-
press milk for future use, or to feed a
baby who is unable to suckle.
breast reconstruction
See
mammoplasty
.
b re a st red uction See
mammoplasty.
b re a st
self-exam ination Visual and
manual examination of the breasts car-
ried out by a woman to detect lumps
Entire breast
Hand is held flat and
and armpit
the breast pressed
are felt
gently with the
fingertips
AREA TO BE
EXAMINED
B
95
previous page 93 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online next page 95 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online Home Toggle text on/off