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Breast Lumps (Non-Cancerous): Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Breast lumps or changes are a common health worry for most women. Women may have many kinds of breast lumps and other breast changes throughout their lives, including ones that occur with menstrual periods, pregnancy, and aging. Most breast lumps are harmless and are not cancer.

Many women's breasts feel lumpy and tender before their menstrual periods. Women also may have lumps when they are breastfeeding. Breast lumps may go away after menopause.

Common non-cancerous breast lumps include:

  • Cysts, or sacs filled with fluid.
  • Fatty lumps, which may be firm. These may or may not cause pain.
  • Fibroadenomas, growths that are round and firm with smooth edges.
  • Abscesses, which are pockets of infection within the breast.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If you are pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Wear a supportive bra, such as a sports bra or jog bra.
  • You may want to limit caffeine. Some women say that cutting back on caffeine reduces their breast tenderness.
  • A diet very low in fat (about 15% of daily diet) may reduce breast tenderness. Talk to your doctor about whether you should try a very low-fat diet.
  • A diet low in salt (sodium) also may reduce breast tenderness.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you:

  • You do not get better as expected.
  • Your breast has changed.
  • You have pain in your breast.
  • You have a discharge from your nipple.
  • A breast lump changes or does not go away.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.