On the body, a lesion is an area with is an abnormality or alteration in the tissue’s integrity. When this lesion develops in the breast tissues, they are referred to as breast lesions. Breast lesions usually come in the form of lumps or swellings in or around the breast area, and they are frequently felt during a self breast examination or when examined by a physician. Some lesions, however, may be present but not felt. These are called non-palpable lesions, and they are mostly detected during a screening mammogram test, which is more like an x-ray of the breast.
The normal breasts have various types of tissues with different consistencies. One type of tissue found in the breasts is the glandular tissue, which is nodular and firm to the touch. Breasts also have fats that are generally soft to the touch. It is normal for the breast tissues to undergo changes such as lumpiness or tenderness, especially during the menstrual cycle. Most of these breast changes normally occur in response to hormonal changes going on in the body.
Even infants may have breast lumps caused by the transfer of the hormone estrogen from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. Young girls can also develop lumps or bumps at the start of puberty. In adult women, breast lumps are often mistaken for breast cancer, although most breast lumps turn out to be benign.
There are several factors that lead to the development of lesions. These include infections, injuries, non-malignant growths, and cancer. Infection in the breast is called mastitis, which is often seen in breastfeeding mothers.
Injuries to the breast may cause bleeding inside the breast, resulting in blood clots that may form into a lump. There are also non-cancerous growths developing in women's breast. Examples of these benign breast lesions are fibroadenoma, frequently characterized by rubbery and movable lumps, and fibrocystic changes, where lumps are often tender.
Some breast lesions, however, may turn out to be cancerous. Symptoms of breast cancer include the presence of breast lumps, changes in the skin around the breast, and discharges from the nipple, which can sometimes be bloody. Physicians often recommend that women perform regular self breast examinations in order to detect breast cancer in the early stage. Individuals at risk for breast cancer are those with history of breast cancer in the family. When breast lesions are found, further tests, such as breast biopsy and excision biopsy, are often done to see if the growth is malignant.