The occurrence of breast lumps is absolutely normal during pregnancy period, particularly in the last trimester when the breasts are preparing for lactation. The lumps are soft, movable and occur in both of the breasts.
It is very uncommon to get breast cancer during pregnancy. Every year, approximately 1-2% of breast cancers are diagnosed during pregnancy.
Unsuspicious breast lumps have the following characteristics:
- Lumps are freely movable.
- Painful lumps, which means it is just an inflammation but not a tumor.
- Fluctuations in size i.e. cysts that are related to milk production usually vary in size as the hormones fluctuate. But cancer related tissues remain in the same size or grow bigger.
- Usually the lumps are in round shape. The tumor related lumps are shaped irregularly.
- Lumps appear in small size i.e. less than one centimeter.
Examine yourself and allow the doctor to check if you find a lump or cancer. Based on screening, your doctor will suggests you for mammogram.
During the mammography, make sure to tell your doctor that you are pregnant. There will be a section where they cover your abdomen with a led shield to avoid the radiations from falling into it.
Most often, the breast lumps can be drained or aspirated during pregnancy. If they can not be drained, a biopsy would be removable as well.
Having a lump in the breast doesn’t mean that it is a cancer. But it is important to check the breast lumps conscientiously.