The best way to figure out the difference is by going in for a visit with your clinician and asking them to do a breast exam. After they give you the all clear, you can go home and do your own exam to see that everything you feel is healthy and normal.
There are a few quick and dirty things to look for when you’re doing it yourself:
- Symmetry: unhealthy lumps almost never occur symmetrically - if you have a matching lump on the other breast, it’s most likely monthly breast changes.
- Shape: if the lump has even edges - for example you can feel that it’s really a nice round or oval lump, you’re in good hands. It’s the ones that have irregular shapes that are at a higher risk for malignancy.
- Moveability: Can you move it? Being fixed in place is a bad sign.
Then look for these signs:
*Reminder - breast pain is very rarely associated with cancer.