What are breast changes that should always be evaluated and discussed with a health care provider?

Dr. Heck discusses breast changes a woman should always discuss and have evaluated by her health care provider. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Though there are many ways a woman’s breast can change throughout her life that are a normal part of aging, there are many other changes that can be a cause for concern and should be evaluated by her health care provider.

If your breasts look or feel different to you, always feel free to ask your doctor about the change. National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), states that no change is too small to ask about, and the best time to call is right when you notice the change. Some changes that should definitely be talked about with and evaluated by a health care provider, according to the NCI and Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians, include:

  • Lump/mass or a firm feeling – Lumps can be all shapes and sizes, and they are not all cancerous. They can be found in or near the breast or under the arm. Breasts by nature are lumpy, so some lumps are normal. Doing a regular self-breast exam can help a woman know which lumps are common and which are new. Thick or firm tissue near or in the breast or a change in the size or shape of a breast should also be a reason to contact your doctor.
  • Nipple discharge – Other than breast milk, nipple discharge – especially when bloody – should be checked. It can be different colors or textures, and can be caused by birth control pills, some medications, or infections.
  • Nipple changes – If a nipple becomes inverted and faces inward rather than pointing out, talk with your doctor about the change.
  • Skin changes – Any itching, redness, scaling, dimples, puckers, or other changes to the skin on your breasts should be evaluated.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about what breast changes are important to discuss and have evaluated

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