What is a Benign Lump?

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Finding a lump on your body can be scary. Just the thought of a lump can bring to mind images of doctors, cancer patients and hospitals. Fortunately, not all lumps are bad. These types of lumps are called benign lumps. In fact, most people will have some form of benign lump during their lifetime because of hormone changes or injury.

Identification

Benign lumps are classified as non-cancerous bulges found on the body. When a doctor believes that a lump may be potentially cancerous, a biopsy, scan or fluid test is done to determine if the lump is benign. A biopsy is when tissue is taken from the area to test for cancer. In a fluid test, a fine needle is inserted into the lump to remove fluid from it, and the fluid is then checked for color. Bloody fluid is a sign that the lump may be cancerous and will need further testing. Fluid without blood often means that the lump is a benign cyst. No fluid means that the lump may be solid and will need a biopsy. Scans that are done on lumps are mammograms and CAT scans. These scans help the doctor see the structure of the lump to determine the possibility of it being benign.

Types

The most common type of benign lump is a cyst, which is a pocket of fluid that forms under the skin. These can be caused by blocked ducts or damage to the area. Another type of lump called a proliferative, or fast-growing, lesion, has been found by studies by the Mayo Clinic to be more likely to cause cancer in the future. Fibroadenoma, a mass often found on the breasts, is a lump that is a mass of tissue caused by hormonal changes.

Treatment

When a lump is found to be benign, it is usually left to go away on its own. If the lump has been found to have unusual cell activity, even though it is not yet cancerous, it may be removed as a preventive measure.

Commonality

A large amount of lumps are found to be benign. For example, four out of five breast lumps that are tested are found to be benign, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Warning

If you find a lump, consult your doctor. Do not assume the lump is benign.

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